Thursday, June 17, 2010

Taos Toolbox, Toolin' Along

We are critiquing the Week 2 stories, most of which were written here at Taos, as well as continuing lectures and individual conferences. Yesterday Walter's lecture on "the other" included a frank discussion of issues important to any writer: How can you effectively write members of a group not your own? If a white male writes as a viewpoint character a Native American, is that "cultural appropriation"? If a woman writes a helpless, passive female character, has she betrayed feminism? Is it off limits to create a nasty Black drug dealer or a Muslim terrorist, or can readers accept that one unsympathetic character does not represent the author's view of that entire group? Where do reality and stereotypes connect and disconnect?

We did not actually come to any conclusion, but it was a loaded, important discussion carried out in a thoughtful manner.
Yesterday brought the necessary group photo, even for those of us who hate to have our picture taken. From top to bottom, left to right: Jason Musgrave, Sean Craven, Eric Kelley, Lou Berger, Rich Baldwin, George Galuschak, Christian Walter, Danielle LeFevre, Oz Drummond, Amy Sundberg, Barbara Webb, Lawrence Schoen, Ada Brown, Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, Hallie Rulnik.

Memorable quotes from the last two days of critique sessions:

"I like the vomit. Keep it."

"'Orders of magnitude' beyond six billion people is a whole shitload of people."

"You need story values somewhere in here, dude."

"You have White Dragon Syndrome."

"More pigs!"


qiihoskeh said...

I recognized you and Lawrence Schoen in the picture just from knowing you both were there.

I wonder if it'd be possible to come up with a story that included all of your critique session quotes?

bluesman miike Lindner said...

I'm a little confused here, Nancy.

What's the course? Is it sf or fantasy?

Because no nasty black drug dealers or Muslim terrorists ever have existed. Nor shall they ever. What an idea!

I think maybe, we fictioneers (or lyricist, in me own case), use the concept as a metaphor for, uh...

Well, I guess, nasty black drug dealers and Muslim terrorists.

But how to use those characters...
as caricatures? Real people? How are they involved in the plot?

And when are they gonna give me back my fucking money?

liebja said...

Thoroughly confused - what is 'White Dragon Syndrome'?
You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that comes up on Google for the first two words, but I didn't find the combination.

Nancy Kress said...

"White Dragon Syndrome" is a word play on "White Room Syndrome." It means you haven't adequately described your room (or dragon) so we can't visualize it. We also had White Planet Syndrome, White Gunroom Syndrome, and White Jungle Syndrome :)

qiihoskeh said...

So WDS has nothing to do with PERN? glad you cleared that up. BTW, for my attempted NaNoWriMo last year, my title was _Escape from the White Room_. In 30 days, I wrote a grand total of 1958 words.

halojones-fan said...

Lindner: The issue isn't the characters themselves, it's "fans" who are desperate to find the next example of "racefail".