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About mathgnome

  • Birthday March 26

Personal Information

Writing Related

  • Penname
    L.S. Kohn
  • Writing History
    At least 9 years
  • Beta Reader?
    Depends/other. Send me a PM
  1. mathgnome

    Overused tropes that you're totally using anyway

    The big one in Ashes Fall Down would be the enemies-to-lovers romance. I'm really excited to play with that trope a bit. As for Traitor... rebellious, privileged female protagonist reacting against sexism, former slave who has to be a hero, convicted murderer saves the world... (is that a trope? I have no idea.)
  2. mathgnome

    Worldsmyths Birthday Thread!

    March 26!
  3. mathgnome

    What are you writing for NaNo?

    I finally know! Here's my pitch: It’s been five years since a military coup overthrew Evahn’s father and sent her running for her life. Five years since she’s set foot in the Dragonhorn. Five years can change a lot. Except it hasn’t: not really. Life has gone as usual – maybe even a little bit better – and no one really seems to care about the disinherited daughter of a deposed tyrant. Evahn’s only allies are the remnants of her father’s elite Dragonguard shock troops, now decimated from a five-year war of attrition. But the Dragonguard might be the bad guys, their leader still sees her as a spoiled, tempestuous brat, and her father’s usurper seems disarmingly benevolent. Evahn just wanted her country back. Why does it have to be so complicated?
  4. mathgnome

    Don't let the name fool you ;)

    sneaks out of her hole in the ground Hi! Nice to see new people! I'm a little bit of a ghost on the forums right now because of school haha. I hope you like it here!
  5. mathgnome

    Jess's Introduction

    Hey, nice! I've been studying kung fu for the last two-ish years. I learned how to use a Chinese broadsword over the summer. Do you remember what style you practiced?
  6. mathgnome

    Hello, World!

    Hello hello! Your hobbies sound like mine. Nice to meet you!
  7. mathgnome

    What are you currently reading [2018]?

    Yes! Stormlight is an amazing series!
  8. mathgnome

    NaNoWriMo 2018 Buddies!

    https://nanowrimo.org/participants/lskohn I'm lskohn on NaNo (note: that's a lowercase "L" not an uppercase "i")
  9. I want to update my wordcount! username: mathgnome words written: 29,702 is this your new total or the words to add? words to add/i]
  10. mathgnome

    What are you currently reading [2018]?

    Oh hey, I just got Truthwitch! Haven't read it yet; I'm still rereading The Way of Kings
  11. mathgnome

    Question of the Day #42: Rewriting a Story

    I was literally just thinking about this last night with regards to Star Wars, particularly the end of Revenge of the Sith. I guess I'll put a spoiler tag...? So apparently that's how I'd rewrite Star Wars.
  12. mathgnome

    Mix n' Match Story time - Part 2

    Oo, that's a good idea
  13. mathgnome

    Can diversity be "forced" in fantasy literature?

    My point (in that quote, at least) was about giving other people that exhilarating feeling of recognizing themselves in a story, not about having to understand every minute experience that they have. Also, for the record, I am neither black nor bisexual. That was simply an example of intersecting marginalized identities that I was using. You can write what you want. Nobody is telling you that you can't. (see CorianderLeaves[/member] response above). But ignoring race/gender/sexuality isn't going to make the critics go away, if that's what you're worried about. It will probably make them worse, especially when people question the existence of a world where everyone is white. Yes, our individuality makes us diverse. Interestingly enough, the groups that people belong to influence their individuality and identity. It's a not a question of ticking boxes; it's a question of what makes us individuals and yes, identities we assign ourselves and categories we identify with are a part of that. I believe we're all aware of the difficulties writers face. There's no reason to be condescending. Also, no one told you you had to change your story. No one told you you had to write diverse characters. I simply deconstructed the reasons I found your arguments faulty. You can take that or leave it. This has nothing to do with changing the genre, or ideological bents. It's about human need and what people want to see in books. Being touched by a story and being annoyed with the lack of diversity are not mutually exclusive. In fact, wishing for more diversity doesn't even mean being annoyed. It can just mean saying, "Wow, this book was great! But it would be even better if..." We've all had moments where we've enjoyed a book but had a few complaints. (Example: I deeply enjoyed the Powder Mage trilogy, but thought Taniel's powder addiction wasn't really addressed well. It didn't stop me from liking the books.) I may not be the reader you want, but maybe people like me are the readers you need. Because writing is about understand people and their wants, needs, hopes, and dreams. All people. It's hard to write well if you can't do that.
  14. mathgnome

    Can diversity be "forced" in fantasy literature?

    Ok, let's break this down. There are people of diverse racial heritage/appearance everywhere in the real world and they want to see themselves in fantasy literature, too. Anywhere you go on the internet, you'll find people talking about representation, and how important it is that people of non-white ethnicities can see themselves in their heroes. I didn't understand this at first, until I met a character who was a neuroatypical female artist who got to kick butt and be in love even with a mental illness. She was me, and I loved her, and I suddenly realized that something had been missing from my reading experiences. I see white, cishet women in fiction all the time, but seeing this one character who shared something with me that I'd never seen before was something special. How do you think it feels for say, a black neuroatypical bisexual woman to see herself in a fantasy story? Three things that it's hard enough to find separate, all together? I don't know, but from my own experience, I'd wager it feels absolutely amazing. If it's not relevant to the story, why bother one way or another? Your argument cuts both ways. If it doesn't matter, why not make your characters every race and ethnicity imaginable? The moment you start to focus on race or gender or ethnicity, you do run the risk of offending a minority group. But if you've done your research that risk is slim and none. Find out how Chinese people, or people of the African diaspora, or Jewish people, or women, or nonbinary people want to be represented and pay attention to that in your writing. You'll find the risk of offense goes way down. For that matter, in a fantasy world with zero connections to our world, there's probably no such thing as China or Judaism, unless you've coded a culture to correspond to a real-world culture. Which eliminates half your problems. You don't have to worry about portraying Chinese culture respectfully; you just have to worry about respectfully describing your character who looks like they could be Chinese, and making sure you don't fall into any major stereotypes. One: you will run into these problems if you're engaging in tokenism. If you have one character who is a person of color, they have to speak for their entire race. So if they're a minor character, or a villain, then yes, you will get complaints along the lines of what you've described, and rightly so. Don't put token minorities in your stories; fill your stories with minority characters. Two: you will run into these problems if every important good character in your story is white. You can fill your supporting cast with POC characters, but if they exist as satellites to a white dude, you have a problem. Why can't major characters be people of color? Why can't you write a POC love interest with their own character and character arc who takes names and kicks butt and rescues the hero as often as they get rescued? Why can't the hero be a person of color? Yes, some people will say that under no circumstances should white authors right POC protagonists. A whole lot of other people will say that white authors should definitely write POC protagonists as long as they do it respectfully. Just because your protagonist is a person of color doesn't mean your story has to be about racism or being a person of color. In fact, I've seen people say they want stories where POC can just do their thing without worrying about racism. White authors can't write about experiencing racism or the experience of being a racial minority. They can write about characters who are racial minorities. Second, cultural appropriation involves (from what I understand) either misusing/misrepresenting parts of a culture not your own, taking those pieces out of context, or, as a member of a dominant cultural group, claiming part of a culture that the original owners were forbidden to practice. Simply writing a POC protagonist (especially in a world that's been entirely divorced from real world cultures) is not cultural appropriation, unless you break the rules listed above. Are you writing about a woman, or the experience of being a woman? Are you writing about a LGBTQ+ protagonist, or about the experience of being LGBTQ+? Are you writing about a transgender person, or about the experience of being transgender? Because yes, you as a cishet white male can write about women, and LGBTQ+ folks, and transgender individuals. They're people. They have personalities, dreams, goals, likes, loves, and everything else, just like cishet white men. If you understand those things, you can write a woman, or a bisexual man, or a transgender individual (providing you've done your research on tropes and preferences). No, you can't write about the experience of being a woman, or bisexual, or transgender. But you don't have to do that in order to write a character that is any of those things. Write about the character, not what groups they belong to. As a side note, OwnVoices are absolutely important. Women and LGBTQ+ folks should definitely be able to tell their own stories, and write about their own experiences. That doesn't stop you from telling a story with them in it. "If it speaks to you, then the author's work has more worth." Stories speak to people when they see themselves in them and empathize with the characters and their feelings and choices. So a diverse story (well-done) is more likely to speak to people than a non-diverse story. I do agree with your last sentence. Humans are better when we focus on our commonalities, not our differences. But your entire post has been focusing on the boundaries we draw to separate ourselves from each other and why you as an author shouldn't be required to try to cross those boundaries. Now you argue that readers who are POC, or women, or LGBTQ+ should be required to cross those boundaries in order to see themselves in white cishet male protagonists. No. The author creates the imaginary world and the characters and stories within it. The burden is on the author to meet the audience where they are, or at least meet them halfway. Note: I am a neuroatypical, white, cishet female. I'm writing from my personal experiences and my research on the internet. I strongly recommend this website (http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/Navigation2) for further research on diversity from the perspective of non-white individuals. Most of what I've said here was inspired by reading done on that blog. It is an invaluable resource for writing diversity.
  15. mathgnome

    Mix n' Match Story time - Part 1

    I didn't explicitly connect my pieces. I also went for a slightly more whimsical bent. 1. Place A crowded supermarket with an overabundance of brownies (the dessert? the fairies? up to you.) 2a. Protagonist Elo Windthief, the town crier. Nineteen years old. Why she calls herself Windthief, no one knows. She has dark skin and straight black hair. Her eyes change color constantly, although she claims they're brown. She's somewhere around 6 feet tall, taller than most of the men in town, and has just enough muscle on her frame to keep from blowing away, but is nevertheless shockingly good at hiding. She really doesn't like having to tell people things twice; you should have listened the first time. She does enjoy shouting nonsense at the top of her lungs, and occasionally actual news. Most of the town is rather annoyed by her. She flat-out refuses to tell anyone about her past. When asked about her life dreams, she tells people she wants to be a toad, unless it's Tuesday. On Tuesdays she wants to rule the world. As a unicorn. She's probably not serious. Probably. 2b. Antagonist Balt of Tiimer-on-the-River. 22 years old, but also technically immortal. He might be a vampire, but no one has caught him drinking blood yet. Maybe he does it on the full moon. No one ever sees him then. He's super pale and his hair looks like it was dunked in a bucket of bleach. He has a similar build to Gaston and sometimes has trouble fitting through doors. He's very, very patient and bad at keeping secrets. Unless he's a vampire - in that case, he's really good at it. He likes moonless nights and sleeping. He hates the sun and generally dislikes people. Unfortunately, he inherited his father's bakery and has to deal with people instead of sleeping. He has a collection of mysterious magical artifacts and a collection of human bones. His life goal seems to be sleeping, but most people who just want to sleep don't collect human bones... 3. Conflict Across the planet, the wind stops blowing, the rain stops falling, and everyone wakes up dusted in fragments of bone. What's happening, and why does everyone who mentions the oddities disappear? 4. Wildcard Somewhere, somehow, there is a sentient otter. Her children are missing and humanity will pay.