Sub Titled: Sell You
Me: Are you exotic? Do you live in an exotic place? Do you speak an exotic dialect?
You: Well, no, CM. I’m just a plain and ordinary person.
Me: Wrong! Although you may think of yourself and your surroundings as mundane, if you go a thousand miles in any direction, you will find that strangers think you are quite unusual.
Take Mark Twain for instance or Charles Dickens, where they not masters at bringing an exotic place to you? Did you read Fargo? Did you find enlightenment about the Mid West? Ya-ya. You bet ja. Have you read Stephen King? What would his stories be without that New England background? Where does he get it? He opens his eyes and look around. I live in the US, but the land northeast of me sounds completely different.
I’ve chattered and read the works of writers from all over the world, and this is a mistake that I see them make over and over again—not including a background. I use to communicate with a writer from China and another from Australian. I kept telling them, I want to hear about your country, your people. I want to see the trees, hear the dialect. Well, the Chinese guy wouldn’t listen. He kept trying to write like an American, and it just didn’t wash. The Australians guy did listen, and I thoroughly enjoyed his work.
How important is background? Plenty. It’s the pepper in the stew.
And more than just the background, what kind of people are your protagonist dealing with? What kind of society?
I’ll take this one step further. Did you read ‘In the Glomming?’ Did it add a layer of sympathy for the characters that you didn’t have before? Did you watch the movie ‘The Bird Cage?’ Did you laugh, and in the laughter did you find understanding?
Try reading ‘The Wreck’ under the True Stories categories to the right. Can you guess where I’m from?