In this week’s Story Works Round Table, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss what it means to write a character from a culture other than your own, in other words, writing who you don’t know.










We start with a listener question about writing a culture that is not our own, and take off on a journey of writing what you don’t know, or the “other”. Why is it a political hot potato? And how can you be careful in your writing? We talk about the problem of stereotypes, and our own view from the “white middle class”. In the end it all comes down to being careful, researching well, and writing from a place of deep empathy for your whole character!

What we talked about:

Our listener question and Alida’s brief answer from Facebook. (0:23)

Why is this a political hot potato? (2:00)

How to take care with that writing? (3:28)

The example of The Help, writing with due diligence and empathy. (7:30)

We are always writing outside of our realm of experience. (11:00)

Control what you can control. (12:05)

If you don’t know who the author is, it changes your view of the art. (12:45)

The problem of stereotypes. (15:23)

The problem of “white middle class”. (19:25)




Things we mentioned:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
August Osage County 

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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