For Writers: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Japan

Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Marie Brown:

Sometimes “write what you know” translates into fictional societies that strongly resemble America or Europe.

How do you break free of the comfort zone and create something that isn’t yet another clone of Western Earth civilization? And do you ever get feedback from readers saying “that’s not how it’s done?” (I have.)

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One Reply to “For Writers: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone”

  1. Thea

    Since I grew up in Japan, I cringe any time a writer who has obviously never been there tries to write a story based in Japan. I would rather have them base it in “an Asian country” that strongly resembles Japan than to have them get it so horribly wrong.
    As for fictional cultures that resemble Europe, I think Guy Gavriel Kay did an excellent job in his books — in particular “A Song for Arbonne” where the countries are pretty obvious representations of medieval Germany and France. But in his world-building he goes much further and creates varied textures of the cultures that are uniquely Gorhaut and Arbonne. It’s a rare gift that I appreciate more now than I did when I first read his books. I don’t expect every novel to be as well-developed in its minutiae as Tolkien’s epics, but it’s wonderful to get lost in a tale with its own distinctive flavor.

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