My Steps To Creating Characters And Building Worlds

Originally published at Twinjas Book Reviews

One of the questions I’m constantly asked (which admittedly I never get tired of answering) is what  my process in terms of world building and developing complex characters.

My approach to world-building and character development ultimately corresponds to my overall approach to storytelling. As a writer, I personally belong to the school of character = story. What truth do we discover along the character’s journey? More than that, whether it’s fiction, articles or blog posts, I generally have three mandates which I dub E-Cubed: Enlighten, entertain and empower.

Needless to say that E-Cubed has led to other techniques which has only enhanced my storytelling abilities over the years.

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KidLit: Recommended Reading on Justice and Understanding

Originally posted at The Writer’s Block

At a time of great unease and injustice, those of us who are parents of children have a challenge ahead of us. Most of our kids will be exposed to the happenings of the world, and well they should. At the same time, what books can we read to them that will help them understand, and provide tools they will need to survive, thrive, and engage? We reached out to several Minnesota writers with children to compile this list of suggestions. This is by no means definitive, nor complete.

This list was compiled by Kurtis Scaletta, Shannon Gibney, Lana Barkawi, Kathryn Savage, Molly Beth Griffin, Sarah Park Dahlen, Bao Phi, and Lorena Duarte Armstrong.

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Color Commentary: Fifty Shades of Grey

 Color Commentary is back and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re critiquing  the 2015 major motion picture, 50 Shades of Grey. In the tradition of Honest Trailers and Mystery Science Theater 3000, this commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.

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Reading Science Fiction In Our New Political Reality

The way people are reacting (and/or responding) to our current political moment is all over the map. Some are taking the ostrich head in the sand approach: If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Some are happy that the end of the American experiment is closer than we ever thought possible. Some are going full-force with resisting, making sure that what is happening does not become the new default. Some are embracing the newly- burnished hate and division, their fantasies of a fourth and fifth Reich are invading our shared reality. Remember when these people used to be on the fringe? Some say this is the last gasp of a dying ideology. I’m of the mind that it is the first deep breath of a newborn. But what do I know? I’m a born pessimist.

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Bryan Thao Worra on Lao Science Fiction (From CTRL+ALT)

In our final live edition of Hard NOC Life from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo, award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra discusses the literature of the Laotian diaspora and explains why the Asian American literay canon needs more speculative fiction.

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Butler, Dystopia, Propaganda, and a Way Through?

This is an excerpt from a book I started in 2008. I wanted to take a more academic approach to afrogeek and afrofuturist culture and cultural artifacts. I felt this section was important in the present, in light of our new political reality. The books is done, but I’m not sure how I feel about publishing an academic text in a time when we need information to be as clear as possible. Continue reading “Butler, Dystopia, Propaganda, and a Way Through?”

CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, This Weekend in New York City

Like the rest of the nation, I woke up this morning to an unfathomable reality. Despite our best efforts, the country has chosen hate and division. Those dystopian science-fiction novels don’t feel so far off anymore. Still, we at The Nerds of Color must soldier on. I’m doing that by participating in CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian’s pop-up Culture Lab on imagined futures this weekend in New York City. Though, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time imagining the present, much the less the future.

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Let’s Talk About Romani Characters in Comics

By now the events of Peter David’s NYCC anti-Romani rant is all wrapped up, with David writing a series of personal blog posts including an apology to the Romani community. Whether the Romani community — and the Romani activist involved in the incident, along with fans who were both at the panel and have seen the video — forgive David is a separate issue. Rather than focus on the merits of an apology, the opportunity presents itself to instead focus on the actual issue of lack of Romani representation in our media.

To first understand why the lack of Romani representation is an important issue, we have to understand who the Romani people are. For many — including myself — because of this overall lack of representation, there comes an overall prevalence of ignorance regarding who the Romani people are, what their struggles are, and what their actual culture is.

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Modern Filipino Children’s Stories Gets a Kickstart

The Philippines has 181 languages yet most children’s stories in the Philippines are written in only 2 languages, Tagalog and English. Sari-Sari Storybooks has Kickstarted a project to bring those under-represented Philippine language groups life through children’s stories. We interview Christina Newhard about the project.

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