Month: December 2018

Minneapolis Speculative Fiction for Your Auditory Consumption

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If you suffer from an insatiable desire to consume tales of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, Minneapolis boasts multiple recurring speculative fiction reading events showcasing talented authors. Their stories transport listeners to other worlds, worlds with humor, terror, or frighteningly realistic corollaries to today.

The monthly Speculations Reading Series at DreamHaven Books selects a book a month nestling the audience among tempting shelves full of stories. Authors read from the book, and are available for signings of the books. In January, the series switches up the format with a round robin reading open to speculative fiction authors in attendance.

The Not-So-Silent Planet: A Speculative Fiction Open-Mic invites speculative fiction authors to read from their works in an open mic format, and sprinkles two or three special guests readings into each event. The monthly events occur October through March in Kieran’s Irish Pub.

WordBrew curates a dozen local authors annually to read a few minutes of their works to a live audience. After the readings, they hang out,  to connect with new fans, and the authors to sell and sign books.

Other annual sources of access to these authors are local conventions; CONvergenceMinicon, and Diversicon.

The Not-So-Silent Planet and Wordbrew represent excellent opportunities for fans to experience a variety of authors and genres all in one event. The Speculation Reading Series offers extended time with an individual book. Find your next favorite author at one of these events.



Writing Diverse Characters – ESP Workshop

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Notes from the MinnSpec ESP Writing Diverse Characters workshop led by Nishi Peters.

There is not a lot of diversity in science fiction and fantasy. The representation doesn’t match the world around us.

Not a lot of people have backgrounds of characters they create, so they create stereotypical characters.

Our responsibility as writers is to show people who have a different way of thinking.

Common themes, or lack of theme

  • Disabilities are rarely portrayed.
  • Heroes are pretty.
  • Villains are ugly.

Consider when writing diverse characters, are they authentic?

  • Merely changing the appearance isn’t enough.
  • Make the character believable and not stereotyped.

As an example, when considering writing Indian people, learn about who they are as people. People from India, and people with Indian heritage raised in America have differing cultures. Even in India, a lot of variable cultures exist.

General Comments

  • Portray the characters as human beings
  • Do a lot of research on them
    • Follow actor training by observing people in public.
    • Read biographies.
    • Talk to people.
  • Begin with the rules, and how your character interacts in the rules.
    • Common, shared experiences can be used as a basis for the character.
    • No one is perfectly representative.
    • After understanding the rules, consider how each person handles problems in their own way.
      • People from the same background can have dissimilar perspectives and preferences
  • Provide the sort of depth you would about any character.
  • We can relate to each other through our differences without making it a big deal.
  • What does your character notice first when they enter the scene? What they notice can provide a clue to their character.
  • What if a character isn’t human and doesn’t have the same primary senses than us?
  • If you are going to write a character that is different from yourself, don’t make the story about that difference.
  • Characterization can be small nuances, how someone holds a fork or slouches
  • Visualize the gestures and actions in the story
    • Imagine acting out the gestures can help write them, and flesh them out.