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The Midweek Mingle: A Question of Barriers

Just like last week, this isn’t going to be so much of me trying to give advice. This is something I hope we can talk about, and something I hope I can get people thinking about. I’ll return to your regularly scheduled programming after I get back from Sasquan (Wish me luck that I won’t die!). Now, I’m not exactly an old hat in the industry. I’ve been at it since 2010, and I’m embarrassingly young to be an SF/F writer (No exaggeration: it embarrasses me. I have to imagine most 23 year olds don’t just hope to suddenly be … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: An Injection of Positive Thought

So, as I prepare to wing my way off to Worldcon in a week (Yeah. I still have way a lot to do), I’m inevitably thinking about equality and diversity at in-person events. How could I not, leading up to this kind of a possible kerfuffle? Especially since I plan to attend quite a number of events on diversity and equality while I’m there. (Some of what I’m talking about in here, I’ve touched on before, but if I did, it’s because I think it bears repeating.) Now, looking at the list of guests attending, I have to say I’m … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Overcoming 3 Hurdles for Inclusive Writing

When I first really started writing and publishing, I was pretty well convinced of a few things that I could and could not do with my books. Silly things, too. I won’t go into all of them here (we don’t have time for that, and it’s far too early in the morning for that much vodka), but I’ll touch on a few. Namely, a few relating to QUILTBAG+ representation in books. See, I don’t know if the environment is the same, but when I was starting, you didn’t do that. At most, you could have a romance heroine’s best friend … Read more

Midweek Mingle: Capturing Community

Ugh. I want to start by apologizing for missing last week. I went camping the weekend before and ended up with food poisoning. Last time I agree to let anyone else cook chicken for me. Needless to say, I was out of commission for a bit. But now I’m back at full force and ready to get going again. I’ve talked a few times in this column (all right, more than a few) about the QUILTBAG+ community, but never really in any way relating to writing. Well, I’m here to rectify that mistake. We, as SF/F writers, are normally at … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Safe Spaces

The idea of ‘safe spaces’ for any minority group often sets people on edge faster than just about anything else to do with inclusion talk. I get it. I really, really get it. Making these safe spaces where only members of group X can be creates an automatic rift between the majority and the minority, and it’s that gap we’re trying to close. Doesn’t make any sense, right? On the surface, no it really doesn’t. But I ask you to take a look at it from another angle. I want you to meet Dana. Dana comes from a very small … Read more

Midweek Mingle: Just Do It

So, most of what I tend to post in the Midweek Mingle, at least when it comes to fiction, is fairly focused. One thing or one very small group of things to work with to help out with QUILTBAG+ inclusivity. Blah, blah, blah, you probably know the drill by now. I’m going to keep doing that, too, but this week is a bit of an aside. Not a departure from the topic, but a departure from the format, I guess you would say. Also possibly a copyright infringement on the good people at Nike, but we’ll cross that bridge when … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Shared Hardship

So, when I first started doing the Midweek Mingle, I gave a fair bit of general information, along with discussing the Big Scary Barrier (TL;DR: Just because somebody doesn’t act like they want to be somewhere, it doesn’t mean they don’t. They may just feel uncomfortable.). One of the things I talked about in very brief passing was the fact that both the SF/F community and the QUILTBAG+ community were sort of shunned. When it comes to getting along and feeling comfortable and connecting with each other, shared hardship is one of the best tools we have. I wouldn’t wish … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Watershed Moments

A lot of the complaints I’ve heard about QUILTBAG+ representation in fiction are about the portrayal. People are happy to see these characters, yes, but the way the author shows them isn’t always the best. Stereotypes (which I’ve covered in a previous Midweek Mingle) run rampant and, though not quite as bad in my opinion, another plague runs rampant through the QUILTBAG+ community in fiction. A lot of times, the only indication you have that a trans* character is trans*, that a lesbian character is a lesbian, that an agender character is agender, is an outright statement of this fact. … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Crossing Cultures

One of the biggest things in SF/F literature is cross-genre works. Almost every time I go to a convention, or run through a site on speculative fiction writing and whatnot, there’s at least something about mixing other genres into your speculative fiction. It’s a time-honored tradition, dating back to the pulp magazines with things like weird westerns (Billy the Kid vs Dracula, anyone?). Normally when I write this column, I’m talking to the SF/F community about how to bring in more QUILTBAG+ members. This applies there, but what I’m talking about in this article applies in reverse, as well. Now, … Read more

The Midweek Mingle: Hollywood Tokenism

When it comes to diversity in fiction/cinema/whatever, we’ve come a long way. Like, a really, really long way, in a relatively short time. If the Supreme Court rules that same sex marriage is legal, pretty soon, we’ll have an entire generation who doesn’t remember a time when it was illegal. We already have a generation or two who won’t have to worry about getting their sexuality classed as a mental disorder. And already, QUILTBAG+ characters are hardly something to bat an eye at (Usually. I’ll touch on that further, promise.). Yay yay yay, more more more! However (there always seems … Read more