Society Writing

Flights of Foundry: Ways to Decolonize Your Fiction Writing

Watched Flights of Foundry by Vida Cruz from

A colonial mindset permeates everything we do and say, whether we recognize it or not, like it or not. The work of decolonizing is difficult but worthwhile, and for fiction, it is rooted in being open to craft concepts that may be contrary, even antithetical, to what you were taught in school and in writing books. Topics that will be covered in this presentation include writing from a place of societal trauma, radical acceptance in characters, active vs. inactive protagonists, harmful cultural values and attitudes, non-western narrative structures, therapy-taught mental health lessons that can manifest in fiction, etc.

Empires are portrayed as monocultures – one religion, one set of

Other forms of government do not squash complexity – vassal states, unrecognized states, thalassocracies (sea-based empire, not interior land)

Add complexity – multiple languages, history / old and new interacting, multiple religions / mythologies

Notice what is not being noticed by your characters and why

Don’t italicize non-English words which highlights their difference

(TD note: a lot of this seems to come down to writing well, not relying on stereotypes)

Characters without agency can still be active

“Activeness” is rooted in the American values of individualism – ignores the contribution and influence of community and society – conflict and competition are tools of the colonizer (divide and conquer)

Other concepts to use instead of conflict and competition:

  • community building
  • forgiveness
  • mercy
  • acceptance
  • runion
  • reparation
  • self-actualization

Kishotenketsu = Japanese storytelling structure

  • introduction (ki)
  • development (sho)
  • twist (ten)
  • conclution (ketsu)

Themes are not universal

Often hero’s journey ends just after rebellion or revolution, with them taking power – with no sign of how they will change things that made life bad for others

Reading Recommendations:

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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