Diversity in Fantasy: We Can Do Better.

Diversity in Fantasy

One of the best things about writing in the fantasy fiction genre is that anything goes. I’m not saying there aren’t rules – there are – Harry Potter wasn’t able to bring his parents back from the dead, the One Ring gave Frodo powers, but not without consequence.  If done correctly, magic or superpowers shouldn’t be a panacea to all life’s problems or there would be nothing at stake, nothing for our hero to overcome or run up against. There are limits to magic and rules that govern fantasy worlds.   But – the good news is, as a writer – you make the rules!  You can create a fictional world of fish people, so long as you can convincingly explain to the reader how they’re able to breath under water, what kind of teeth they have for eating prey and how they’re able to navigate the darkest depths of the ocean.  Fantasy – no matter how far-fetched – must have a basis in reality or you risk the reader suspending their disbelief.

Which is why a lot of fantasy worlds draw from science, historical events, real people or historical periods.  Doing this provides the reader with a recognizable framework through which to view the world.  Going forward, let’s call that framework belief glasses.  As long as the writer provides the reader with a pair of belief glasses, the reader should be able to comfortably navigate the writer’s world and not get taken out of it.  So when you’re creating those glasses, why create ones that only see white people?  Why create glasses that can see dragons but not women in positions of power?  Why not make full-spectrum glasses? Continue reading “Diversity in Fantasy: We Can Do Better.”

The Handmaid’s Tale Exposes the Perils of Non-Inclusive Feminism and Racism in America.

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The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood in the Reagan era, has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity due to the visually stunning Hulu series based on the book. Atwood’s book has reaped the rewards of the TV show’s success – making an uncontrolled ascent to the top of the Amazon rankings – as a whole new wave of women and feminists co-opt its ideas and heed the cautionary tales inherent in its narrative.  The renewed interest lies not just in the gorgeous costuming, great cast and grim portrayal of a bleak future, but because the story has real resonance in our modern world.

Continue reading “The Handmaid’s Tale Exposes the Perils of Non-Inclusive Feminism and Racism in America.”

How to Write a Blog.

How to write a blog.

It’s easy to feel like you aren’t a real writer when no one can see the fruits of your effort. If you’ve started to cringe when you tell someone, “I’m writing a novel” or you hesitate to call yourself a writer to your friends (because you don’t have any searchable content out in the world), blogging could be for you.  Writers write.  And if you don’t exist as a writer on the Internet, you don’t exist.  Don’t wait until you have a book to build your brand.  Now is the time! Continue reading “How to Write a Blog.”

Does 13 Reasons Why Glorify Suicide?

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, adapted from a young adult book of the same name by Jay Asher.  Many claim that the show glorifies suicide.  Or that one of its scenes – which shows a girl killing herself in explicit detail – is triggering or informative for those who may be looking to do the same.

Continue reading “Does 13 Reasons Why Glorify Suicide?”

How to Stop Procrastinating. (Pt 2)

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If you missed part one, find it here: Why We Procrastinate (Pt 1)

1. Give Yourself Permission.

When we’re putting things off, often it’s because our conscious and unconscious are in a tug-of-war.  Our conscious is curious, creative, spontaneous, adventurous.  It’s the part of us that is not just living, but alive.  The impulses from our conscious can seem crazy to us at times.  Two months ago, I was hiking through the South of France with my friend, Sarah, and had the sudden desire to take off my boots and feel the ground under my feet.  My unconscious’ initial response was – are you crazy? You could step on something sharp!  Kids go barefoot, not adults.  Where is this even coming from?  

Continue reading “How to Stop Procrastinating. (Pt 2)”

Why We Procrastinate. (Pt 1)

MAKES (1)We’ve all been there before – when facing a looming deadline for a research paper or work presentation – we somehow find ourselves binge-watching episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix or re-alphabetizing our book shelves.  We have every intention of doing the thing…eventually.  We even set arbitrary deadlines for ourselves: I’ll do it at 11 o’clock.  And when 11 o’clock comes and goes and we still haven’t done the thing, we move the finish line.  I’ll start tomorrow.  I’ll start Monday.  I’ll start the first of May.  I’ll start in the New Year.  In the meantime, we stew in anxiety, guilt and self-hatred.  Why can’t I do the thing?  What’s wrong with me?  Will I ever do the thing?  Can I even do the thing? Continue reading “Why We Procrastinate. (Pt 1)”

SELL OUT: Does Art Suffer from Success?

Sell out - Leighhecking.comWhen I was sixteen, I was a fan of a one-man-band, Dashboard Confessional.  My friends and I traveled miles to tiny clubs all up and down the east coast, stood shivering outside in line in winter in bad neighborhoods, got our ribs bruised up against the partition in mosh pit, covered our backpacks and messenger bags in band pins from Hot Topic, went thirsty or hungry or without sleep – all to hear the soul-bearing lyrics of someone we considered to be a modern day poet. Continue reading “SELL OUT: Does Art Suffer from Success?”

How to Write Anywhere in the World.

How to Write Anywhere in the World - Leighhecking.com-min

As someone who travels frequently, I find that a change of scenery can inspire and inform your writing, but often doesn’t make for the best work habits. Whether you’re trying to take in museums on holiday or traveling on business, the following tips will help you to get your work done anywhere in the world.

Continue reading “How to Write Anywhere in the World.”

It’s Never Too Late: 10 Writers & Artists That Were Late Bloomers

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In a world where it’s all about the next, young innovative person to come along, it’s easy to feel like we have passed our expiration date as writers or artists.  But does creativity have an expiration date?  Is there such a thing as “too late” when it comes to creating?

Continue reading “It’s Never Too Late: 10 Writers & Artists That Were Late Bloomers”