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Here's an interesting essay about characters whose gender is not revealed.

Now the fun part is, I have done all the things  here.  I've written male and female characters.  I've written around a dozen sex/gender identities.  Usually I specify them.  Occasionally I don't, and I have done that both deliberately and accidentally.  I've written non-binary genders.  I've even got one whose gender is explicitly identified as "I'm not telling."  All of those things matter.  But they don't matter to every story.  It's okay to get through one and realize that you haven't tagged the character's gender.  It's okay to specify something out of the ordinary, whether that affects the plot or is background parity.  Just know what you're doing.
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April's theme covers Heliopath’s World and Aurora’s World. Enter the April 2014 Raffle by using comments, links, or credits.

Fiction: Aurora’s World: Atecia: Opal: Talking to Margery (part 7) has Haidar talking with Opal about blooming and the social challenges it brings.
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Calix: Felicia Blooming (part 3) has Tuula explaining more about blooming and sensing people who will bloom.

The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 87th continuation) follows up on Peric shredding the mind of the platypus assassin.
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 88th continuation) shows Peric telling his friends what he has discovered about the counterfeiters.

Other Fiction: Heliopath’s World: Outside Ildieu: Dale: Taking Charge (part 2)
Heliopath’s World: Outside Ildieu: Quartz: Dreaming of Family
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Benedict: Studying
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Kestrel: Kidnapped (part 5)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Ginevra: Taking Over

Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mackenzie: The Thieves’ Hideout (part 4)
Aurora’s World: Haerith: Xavia: Making a Decision (part 5)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 8)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Jillian: Hunted (part 4)
Aurora’s World: Konir: Amelia: Going Underground (part 2)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Jillian: Hunted (part 5)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 9)

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article suggests that consciousness is a state of matter.  Well, yes.  It's kind of like how little whizzing bits of energy get together and pretend to be solid.  But consciousness is also a lot more fractal and holographic than most people realize.  It's not indivisible.  Parts of it can be lost and other parts still function, or conversely, parts can be lost but then regained from unexpected angles.
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Here's a great essay about diversity in publishing, especially young adult books. My favorite quote: “The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive.” Wowch, nailed it.

There's a problem when an industry lacks diversity: “None of these agents look like me,” she said, “and they don’t represent anyone that looks like me.” ... “What if they don’t get what I’m doing?” While it's possible for people to reach understanding across cultural lines, it is much easier for people to understand each other when they share a lot of common ground. Lack of diversity among gatekeepers (agents and editors) therefore undermines access and representation.

Now here are two quotes from advantaged people in the industry: "I think the change is going to have to come from within those who are affected,” and Another agent, when asked why less than 1% of her submissions were from people of color, captured what seems to be the publishing industry’s general attitude in just 10 words: “This seems like a question for an author to answer.” Both of those are right. In order to work, social change must incorporate the views and needs of the people affected; top-down solutions tend to be offensive and ineffective.

However, that doesn't mean everyone else can just abdicate all responsibility. You have to look for the part of the problem that lies within YOUR reach. In this case, it means engaging a conversation about unmet needs. The industry should be asking, "If people of color don't read or buy books, why not?" (They have less access to education, fewer books starring characters like them, less disposable income, etc.) And then ask, "What would help fix that?" If a question is for authors to answer, then agents and editors should in fact be asking authors that question, and listening to the answers.

And here it is in the essay: The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?”

Of course, there are many issues in publishing, as in society. Most people will pick one or two favorites to focus on. Maybe they want to deal with sexism or classism rather than racism. Maybe they want to focus on books that will hook people who rarely read. Everybody doesn't have to deal with every problem, but every problem should have somebody working on it.

Me, I'm weird as usual; I'm the one waving a broom and shouting, "Fight ALL the oppressions!"  What am I doing?  Sure, I write characters from all different cultures, because I'm a mix.  But I also promote  projects by a wide range of creators.  Word of mouth advertising is really, really important.  I may not have a lot of money but I make one hell of a barker.

This is an area where crowdfunding can help.  You can support creative people of color.  You can ask for ethnic characters or plot structures.  You can look for projects to fund a book for distribution.  Yes, there's a filter, but we don't have to go through that bottleneck anymore.  We can go somewhere else.  The market is a lot more diverse than the dinosaurs believe.  They're standing in the breach?  Fine.  Let them have it.  Go somewhere else, go where there are people, and get their attention.  There are niches with almost no representation and therefore minimal competition.  Go fill them.  People are starving for stories about characters similar to themselves.  Feed a cat, gain a cat.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Word meanings can shift over time.  Sometimes this is good, other times not so much.  I'm often bemused by "decimated" to mean "mostly or wholly destroyed."  It really means "1/10 destroyed."  LInk courtesy of my partner Doug.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] ariestess is holding a one-card draw today.  Crowdfunded divination is fun!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A project I'm following, PoetTown, is making progress and currently doing a round of fundraising.  This is going to be a searchable hub site of poetry with crowdfunding options.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
April's theme covers Heliopath’s World and Aurora’s World. March 2014 Round-Up lists the stories and other activities from the past month.

Fiction: The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 82nd continuation) shows Lucille worrying about what Peric will do.
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 83rd continuation) has Peric fuming over the damage to his friend Bertram. A pissed-off empath is scary.
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 84th continuation) shows Quiar talking with Peric about Bertram's injuries and the counterfeiters.
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 85th continuation) introduces the confrontation between Peric and the surviving platypus. O_O
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 86th continuation) continues the conflict as Peric takes the information he seeks from the assassin.

Aurora’s World: Konir: Clay: Making an Informed Decision (part 4) features Clay and Jennica talking about how to deal with magical oppression.
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Opal: Talking to Margery (part 6) has Haidar telling Opal about settling the world.
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Calix: Felicia Blooming is about the onset of magic.
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Calix: Felicia Blooming (part 2) has Felicia arguing with her family about what to do now that she has magic.

Other Fiction: Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Jillian: Hunted (part 3)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 6)
Aurora’s World: Haerith: Xavia: Making a Decision (part 4)
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Aurora: A Death in the Family
Aurora’s World: Atecia: Aurora: A Night with Harrison
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mirica: A Thief in the House (part 7)
Aurora’s World: Ialaera: Mackenzie: The Thieves’ Hideout (part 3)

Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Jasper: The Arrival of Kestrel (part 2)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Falcon: Kestrel’s Kidnap
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Kestrel: Kidnapped (part 2)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Kestrel: Kidnapped (part 3)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Falcon: Kestrel’s Kidnap (part 2)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Jasper: The Arrival of Kestrel (part 3)
Heliopath’s World: Ildieu: Kestrel: Kidnapped (part 4)

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is the opening post for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest running May 1-31 over in [community profile] allbingo.  It celebrates National Masturbation Month.  Vanilla, kinky, asexual, whatever floats your boat -- come enjoy your body for its own sake.  Play on the public card or make your own.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My story got picked in the Foolathon bonus poll, so you can now read "A Clean Citizen Is a Good Citizen" by LJ user Lb_lee, based on my prompt.  It is adorable sociological SF fluff about bathing in mixed-species company.
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We are now taking prompts for the Torn World Muse Fusion Bingo.  (New to Torn World?  Start here!)  Prompters are encouraged to leave 5-10 prompts, which may be specific to Torn World or generic, whichever you prefer.  A selection of prompts will be randomly sorted onto a bingo card, to be played collectively by Torn World creators.  (Not a creator yet?  Join us!)  There will be individual (for prompters and for creators) and collective prizes depending on how much activity occurs.  

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