Intro Music by Fretts!

Our intro and our outro music is Your Government Loves You and Wants You to be Happy, by Fretts! If you love it as much as we do, you can find more beautiful music at!

Swimming Against the Current: When You Know it Won’t be Popular.


What We’re Drinking:

Granny Strong’s Cucumber Vodka! I thought this was delicious. I would definitely drink it again, and it’s local!

What We’re Saying:

Tiger Gray has joined us again! I’m sure you can tell this is one of our “third episodes,” which means we’re probably all a lot drunker than anyone should be to make a podcast.

We’re talking about writing stuff that you KNOW will not be popular.

This can cover a lot of things, from failing to cater to what the largest audience finds “relatable,” writing characters from marginalized backgrounds, or tackling subjects that might make people uncomfortable.

Tiger has experience writing things that they knew that people would have a hard time identifying with. This can include the content, or, as Tiger points out, it can include stylistic choices as well. Chuck Wendig, for instance, wrote a Star Wars novel that received a lot of criticism for stylistic choices, including use of sentence fragments and writing in the second person point of view, which is a daring choice to say the least. He also got taken apart for introducing what I understand is the first gay character into Star Wars canon.

I like Chuck Wendig a lot. Like, a lot a lot. You should read all his stuff.

I like reading about characters that are different from me, that have different experiences and backgrounds from me, because it’s a window into another part of humanity. If you broaden your consumption of fiction to include characters and writers that are different from you, you might find that you end up reading something that you wouldn’t have otherwise, and you might really like it.

Also, these styles of writing come into fashion and then fall out of fashion. Writing in a style that’s fallen out of fashion might make your writing sound dated (or not, depending on how old the fashion is), but that doesn’t make it bad. And it doesn’t mean it’s not worth writing.

The Hero’s Journey is very popular, to the point that some people will make the claim that unless you’re writing the Hero’s Journey you might as well not be writing.

And there are a lot of other kinds of stories out there apart from the Hero’s Journey. One way to become more exposed to different kinds of stories is to read literature from other cultures and looking into indigenous storytelling.

Some of the writers who basically created modern science fiction were odd beans to say the least, and that oddness showed itself in the words that they wrote. So someone’s disability can bring a depth to their writing that you and I and all of us can benefit from reading.

I read the book A First Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi, and it really changed the way I viewed mental illness. It’s a non-fiction book that examines mentally ill leaders in history and how their mental illnesses both helped and hindered them. It was really interesting to me and it helped me come to understand that the struggles we have with our brains can bring blessings as well as trials.

James published a story titled NDN Bones in the inaugural issue of Hot Mess, and he says that he received feedback from people on the story that they couldn’t connect with his main character, and that at least one of them specifically cited the main character’s indian heritage as the cause. I have to tell you, I have two short stories in Hot Mess, and NDN Bones is maybe my favorite piece in the volume overall. And the reason that story is so good is because James was honest with it; he put into it shades and hues from his background that took it from being an interesting idea and a good enough story to something magical.

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