We are not writing for National Geographic

Writers who are not white sometimes struggle with this particular issue. How much consideration should we give to the audience? How much of the culture we are writing about should we translate for the reader? Can we assume the reader knows the definition of a salwar kameez? Must I explain that ammachi means maternal grandmother? That cousin brother is a male cousin and not in any way incestuous?

Authors, take heart. There’s a simple solution to all of this.

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A trick for dialogue

Recently, I was having trouble writing a scene. In this scene a man and a woman are having an argument. The scene is third person, past tense, from the woman’s point of view. So I knew more or less what she was going to say, her motivations, her fears, her desires, but I had no clue how the man would respond. Or, more specifically, I knew how he would respond but his exact dialogue and body language, all of that was a question mark.

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