September 30, 2016
I just got back and mostly recovered from a week at sea with the cast of Writing Excuses. Writing Excuses is a podcast about writing genre fiction that has been around since 2007, and is fantastic. It was created by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler, and has subsequently added Mary Robinette Kowal to the permanent cast. You may have heard of Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn and the closing three books of the Wheel of Time series.
The cruise was fantastic. Two-hundred writers spent their days sharing a boat with a bunch of people inexplicably rabid about buying jewelry on Caribbean islands. The days were jam-packed with workshops, writing time, question-and-answer sessions, and Writing Excuses session recordings.
The special emphasis of this cruise turned out to be ‘writing the other’. Mark and I have been particularly concerned with this topic because both the genre and just the historic period of Harrowing Adventures has been particularly insensitive to treatment of race and culture. So we’re walking a line. We want the game to be fun and true to the genre, but we don’t want to fall into the traps of lacking diversity in our characters or thinking colonially about people and cultures that appear. And I think I’ve returned with some good ideas about how to help us do that. In fact, if this topic is of interest to you, there is now a fantastic Writing Excuses episode specifically discussing that topic, which was recorded on the cruise.