Fear of Writing The Other & One Place to Risk it in Good Company: Ploi Pirapokin on Mutants!

This week the award-winning writer and teacher Ploi Pirapokin speaks to us of Mutants and Writing The Other.

On December 20th, Ploi will be teaching MUTANTS! – Writing Character in Speculative (and Literary) Fiction – a characterization class exploring first encounters, close encounters, the other, and the possibility of connection (or not!). More here, if you want to register, contact us here!

Here’s a class teaser/trailer, straight from Ploi Pirapokin’s starship, landing in just over a week:


Why are we so afraid of writing The OTher?

the other

“Writing the Other is a sensitive topic. It should be. Not least because it’s so often been done so very, very badly, but the truth is that unless you’re writing an autobiography, any character you write is going to be The Other. –  Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City.

Sometimes I’m a lonely monster on a bad date, flapping my tiny reptilian wings and hissing; sometimes I’m a handful of grains at the dinner table, grains that glow in the dark and sing; sometimes I’m myself, with green and red clouds as hair.

Ploi Photo

Sometimes imagination isn’t enough on its own. We love. We hate. We bleed. And so do the characters we live with on a daily basis. This class will explore how we translate them onto the page, how we give voices to our lonely monsters with wings, how we roll into a giant pearl made out of grains, and how we experience the world as our most prized selves.

In MUTANTS!, we will dive into visualization exercises, Oulipo writing prompts, and other creative techniques to make the unreal real. We will look at examples from Damon Knight, China Mieville, and Ursula K. Le Guin and more that challenge our own aesthetics in creating memorable characters – those human and non-human – for our work.

— Ploi Pirapokin

  Mutants 2


Questions? Want to register? We’re here. And we can’t wait to write with you! Thank you for joining our writing adventure.