Episode 11 – Not all descriptions are created equal

In this episode of Doing Diversity in Writing, we—Bethany and Mariëlle—conclude our conversation about marking the unmarked by discussing description.

To listen to the episode, find us on Podbean or your favourite podcast app. 

What we talked about

  • marking and unmarking in terms of description
  • the Twilight series and the problematic use of dark and light
  • why we, as writers, have to consistently ask ourselves what the outcome is of the descriptive choices we make

Quotes from this week’s episode

“Describing things as good or bad, welcoming or frightening, is done differently depending on history, religion, region, and the history that the people involved have.”

“The associations we create as authors need to be mindful, and we need to be watching for what kind of implications those descriptions can have.”

“As writers, when we’re looking at describing places, we need to consider who we’re placing in that place and how we want our readers to think about them. If we’re using terms like “high-crime” and “distressed”, that paints a certain picture of anyone we place in that area.”

(Re)sources mentioned on the show

Additional resources for our fellow word nerds

Pro tip from Bethany: One of the best ways to study the marking and unmarking of characters is to get those big glossy photo books with the behind the scenes of film and TV shows. They usually talk about the decisions directors and artistic directors made around dressing and preparing the visual impact of actors on the screen. Pay attention to when they say: “We wanted viewers to believe this, so we did that.”

This week’s sponsor

This week’s episode is sponsored by Crystal Shelley’s Conscious Language Toolkit for Writers. You can find this handy resource by going to: https://www.rabbitwitharedpen.com/conscious-language-toolkit-for-writers. Listeners of this podcast now get 20% off by using the promo code DIVERSITYINWRITING.

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As always, we’d love for you to join the conversation by filling out our questionnaires:

Our Doing Diversity in Writing – Writer Questionnaire can be filled in here.

Our Doing Diversity in Writing – Reader Questionnaire can be filled in here.

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