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What If We Do Wait?

Amy Leibowitz culture own voices representation sensitivity social justice writing

Recently, I shared the above meme. The text of the main point reads:

i really like the advice "write marginalized characters but don’t write about marginalization unless you experience it"
absolutely i think cis people should expand their horizons and write trans characters, but they shouldn’t write stories about being trans. likewise I think allistic/NT authors should write about autistic characters! but not stories about being autistic.
represent us. absolutely. but don’t tell our stories. let us do that.

Some people took this to mean hetero-washing or...

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Can we use singular “they”?

Amy Leibowitz editing grammar writing writing advice

Ah, the ever-present debate: Is singular they/them grammatically acceptable?

Short answer: Yes.

And now for the longer answer.

It’s a bit more complicated than this, but use of singular they has been around for centuries. The context is different from how we use it now, meaning that probably very few if any English-speakers were using they as a personal pronoun. It’s safe to say, though, that this contemporary use is born from the long history of using it when gender is unknown or irrelevant. For example, “Someone left their umbrella here...

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The After School Special

Amy Leibowitz books social justice writing

If you are like me and grew up in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s in the US, you probably remember the ABC After School Specials. If not, or if for some reason you were entirely unaware of this phenomenon (which spread to multiple other networks), here’s what Wikipedia says:

The American Broadcasting Company coined the term after school special in 1972 with a series of made-for-television movies, usually...

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NaNoWriMo: The last mile

Amy Leibowitz nanowrimo running writing writing encouragement

Technically, the last third of National Novel Writing Month doesn't start until Wednesday. But who's counting?

My son runs cross-country in the fall. (That's him in the picture above. He's a tall, skinny white boy wearing a purple and white school uniform, running across a stretch of grass, with cars and trees in the background.) For varsity and JV, this is a 3-mile run (5k), usually through a town park. The terrain can be anywhere from nearly flat to multiple steep hills, open fields to dense trees. Running doesn't stop just because of...

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Writing tips: "show, don't tell"

Amy Leibowitz show and tell tips writing writing advice writing encouragement

Everyone's heard "show, don't tell" at least once. It gets passed around in workshops, classes, and critique groups. It takes other forms, too. Sometimes it's labeled as "spoon-feeding" or "info-dumping," depending on the genre. It's probably the most common piece of writing advice ever given.

It's also the most meaningless.

"Show, don't tell" has a somewhat unfortunate history. It may be anti-communist propaganda, and it definitely has

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