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56

The phrase "cultural appropriation" can make it seem that the sole issue is just who is using the culture. From my point of view, the deeper question how good a job they're doing at representing it. Have you captured anything authentic, or is your depiction just --as is so often the case --a shallow pastiche of preexisting images? Are you doing the ...


18

Well first, let me say nothing you can do can stop people from accusing you of cultural appropriation because anyone can accuse you of anything if they want. However I can give you some tips on decreasing the chances. Mix things up: Don't just copy and paste one culture from our world into yours, but instead borrow elements from multiple cultures and ...


18

Create a minor emergency that can be resolved only by two people working together. Perhaps the fix calls for repeated overlap every four hours between watches. Maybe each cooks for the other for those times.


16

Your schedule doesn't make sense IRL. People WILL find ways to interact and keep each other company; we are social animals. They will talk, even if their conversations are by radio. They will share entertainment. They will do their work in each other's presence, on the bridge. People like company; even if one doesn't, the other one does. IRL, people often ...


14

Other answers cover what to do if you allow your characters to meet in person. If you don't want them to see each other in person, you could use nightly logs as a vehicle for the incipient relationship. Every shift should have some documentation about what happened. Real life spacecraft and naval vessels have logs for every watch. You can see an example of ...


9

Understand the difference between cultural appropriation and Cultural Mis-Appropriation Cultural appropriation is ok^ (as long as you are generally respectful) Cultural Mis-Appropriation is when you take something and use it without the care or honor that it deserves. That is not ok. As with almost everything that involves humans, this is a spectrum and ...


8

Admit nothing Not to be disrespectful, but it's unlikely you're writing the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, or even the next Honor Harrington. I say that because unless you're staggeringly more successful than one has a right to expect, nobody is going to be interviewing you about the hows and why-fores of why culture X does Y. With that being so, ...


7

Hire a sensitivity reader as a consultant. An increasingly popular option that certain businesses in creative industries have taken is hiring consultants from the culture they're depicting as sensitivity readers, who can inform them if they're indulging in harmful stereotypes. This might be quite expensive, depending on the scale of the project you're ...


6

This is part of the plot of The Three Musketeers. In Alexandre Dumas' famous novel, the main character d'Artagnan belongs to a different military branch than his three friends (Athos, Portos, and Aramis) who belong the The Musketeers military group. The main character, through happenstance, accidentally annoys those three the first time he meets them, and ...


5

I know that it doesn't directly apply to your case (two crew, alternating watches), but while sailing on tall-ships, we've used a three watch system where each of three crews had a 4 hour time slot (12-4, 4-8, 8-12) in both AM and PM. In those cases, you usually got up for the tail end of the watch prior, and hung out partway through the watch after your ...


5

They are able to communicate with each other during the non-sleep shift? If your characters have 3*4 hours working shifts and 2*4 hours sleep, that leaves 1*4 hours shift to sozialize. One works, the other eats. This allows you to get creative with the message system: Video-call? Audio (Radio), text consoles? The work does not actually require hands-on ...


5

Comm systems. If they've got any human traits (assuming they're of the human race), the need for company would probably be one of them. At least occasionally. You've got two people on "a deserted island". They need to communicate to stay alive, so to speak. Who's fishing today? Who's watching the fire? "Did you hear the ruffling in the bushes last night? We ...


5

This is done all the time, especially for fantasy worlds but also for other books. It also depends on what you mean by using a real world. If you mean setting a story in a particular city, that's done all the time as well. Laurell K. Hamilton's books are set in New Orleans (as so many are). There should be no legal consequences so long as you're not being ...


4

This type of borrowing is done all the time. In regular fiction, the setting is still a "real" world, only it is borrowed from some some other place (or places) on Earth, with necessary renaming. In fantasy, the fictionalized world is often borrowed from some real historic setting, like medieval England, sometimes with a great level of detail. ...


4

Western movies and television shows are set in the wild west of imagination, which is more or less based on the real western half or two thirds of the USA usually between about 1850 and 1900. So westerns are based on a real time and a real vast region, and thus might be supposed to happen in that real time and real region. But many westerns change so many ...


4

People habitually base worlds on real-life setting, whether historical or contemporary. Legal consequences are something that arise when an individual person or business could be deduced despite the change of the name. (If someone can work out from details that your "Scarlet Fowl" is really the "Red Hen" restaurant, you had best be ...


4

This is a complex question and it deserves a full answer, so I'll break my answer into two parts: how to write an interesting fight scene and how to specifically explain why a character wouldn't make optimal moves in a fight. How to write an interesting fight scene The best advice I have ever received about writing interesting and exciting fight scenes that ...


4

Just an idea that popped into my head: how about having a chess board in the room sp they can effectively play chess-by-shift? It requires no verbal communication yet can be used to build rapport. Other games and activities of course also apply, but turn-based thinking games with long turns are better suited to it.


4

You probably cannot, but since the idea of "Cultural Appropriation" is absurd and a complete misunderstanding of how knowledge and culture flows across humanity then just ignore anyone who accuses you of it.


3

After reading the other answers so far, I wanted to add something. Some of the answers mention 'sharing something' as a great bond-creator. I agree, and this could be bundled up with a sort of intrigue and curiosity. Idea; One of the two is writing something - something non-work related - and forgets it (or part of it) at the post/station, where the ...


3

I really liked what a user called Antiteilchen said in this tvtropes discussion: Don't mystify or vilify them and make the people diverse and not all the same. Don't define them solely by what makes them different from the main culture but define them on their own. That advice applies to every culture or group actually. I would add "which main culture?...


2

I haven't read anything quite like it in genre fiction, but there are some literary authors who write existential stuff like that. Mostly Chinese and Japanese... Murakami writes like that... Strange, half-dream surreal stuff... Steppenwolf is probably the closest I can think of to what you're describing. It's probably the most famous one that I've read at ...


2

You are a writer, no one has to know you are just a regular, plain white guy. Just write under a pseudonym and choose a very cultural ambiguous name. This way your readers can't be sure you are not a member yourself of one the appropriated cultures.


2

Well, people have been borrowing ideas from other cultures since time immemorial. And I, for one, disagree with using people's contemporary anxieties about race to disregard a totally benign and healthy process. So, in my opinion, there's really no such thing as cultural appropriation. Assuming you partly or wholly agree, the question then arises: how best ...


1

I think the better question is "what is culture?". The norms, songs, literature, food, clothing, forms of government, and philosophy of a people stem from their common history, their environment, and their struggles. At the inception of any given collection of people, there is no culture, unless they, as a nation, are derived from a previous, ...


1

An Example Robert Jordan's best-selling Wheel of Time series is full of different cultures. The best explored of these are the Aiel who mostly have blue, grey or green eyes and usually have red hair. They have very distinctive cultural beliefs and practices. Physically, Aiel can be recognized through their unusual height, characteristic pale eyes and light-...


1

I've never worked on a ship, but I have worked shift work. In many cases, there's a 5 to 30 minutes period where the outgoing shift worker is expected to go over what happened during his/her shift, explaining log entries and other events, and walking through each safety-critical system saying when it was last tested, etc. Your characters' communication ...


1

In combination with the previous ideas, here's another twist. Add in secretly watching each other that the other doesn't know about. Perhaps one has access to a security camera. At first they use it innocently to check on something, but becomes more frequent as they become more interested. This is discovered toward the end...


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