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sharonda.harris84
07-06-2010, 08:02 AM
Just curious: how many writers out there are from the Southern part of the US? With such a rich tradition of writers (Truman Capote, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Mitchell, etc.), I would love to know who considers his or herself part of this brotherhood of culture.

And if you are from the South, do you only write about Southern subjects? Historical or New South?

backslashbaby
07-06-2010, 08:18 AM
Woot! I'm a Carolina girl born and bred :D

I don't only write about Southern subjects, but I do use Southern characters pretty often. 20th century.

I'm a big Faulkner fan, and a bigger Garcia Marquez fan. Hopefully some of that rubs off on my work.

Soccer Mom
07-06-2010, 08:26 AM
Texas girl here. I write historicals set in Europe for the most part, but I do have a paranormal mystery set in Dallas coming out next February. I think it's more the culture of storytelling than anything else which has impacted me.

Mark W.
07-06-2010, 09:22 AM
I'm from Tennessee but I wouldn't deign to place myself in the same circles as those greats of Literature. As to why there are so many great Southern Writers, I think that storytelling is more ingrained in traditional Southern Culture. Therefore, that plays out in our writing.

As for the second question... no, I will write about any place or time which strikes me as interesting. I don't restrict it to The South.

Collectonian
07-06-2010, 10:56 AM
Another Carolinian (Northern end) born and bred, now living in Texas. I wouldn't dare consider myself part of that brotherhood, but I think Mark has a good point. Storytelling is an art of the south (though alas it seems to be a dying one in our younger generations). Most folks from the south or who have been there know you don't get any sort of conversation without some story telling happening :-)

Lady Ice
07-06-2010, 04:18 PM
Just curious: how many writers out there are from the Southern part of the US? With such a rich tradition of writers (Truman Capote, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Mitchell, etc.), I would love to know who considers his or herself part of this brotherhood of culture.

And if you are from the South, do you only write about Southern subjects? Historical or New South?

Ironically I'm a Brit but I love Southern Gothic literature: Carson McCullers, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_gothic

backslashbaby
07-06-2010, 06:34 PM
I love this thread! More, more!

Oh, and I know Garcia Marquez isn't Southern, btw :D That was a Faulkner tie-in, and a way to say that I write Magical Realismy stuff ;)

Chris P
07-06-2010, 06:48 PM
I'm from Iowa originally but moved to Mississippi nine years ago. There is something about the south that makes people want to write, that's for sure. I've been writing since I was a teen but it's only been since living here that I've gotten serious about publishing.

I don't write exclusively southern themes or locales. When I do it's all modern, and I try to write the south as I see it: folks going about their lives the best they know how. Only hot. Really, really hot.

SirOtter
07-06-2010, 06:52 PM
I'm in Tennessee, a little more than two good spits and a stone's throw from Mark W, but I was born in Alabama and have never lived outside of Those States Formerly in Rebellion Against the Union During the Recent Unpleasantness. I agree, there's a tradition of story-telling down here I don't see in other regions. That's what makes Big Fish so spot on. Edward Bloom is just like most of my kinfolk. One of the great regrets of my life is not plunking a tape recorder in front of my Great Uncle Wallace during one of our annual family reunions and letting him ramble on for a couple of hours. He had this one great yarn about a drunk engineer trying to line up a locomotive on the northbound track of a roundhouse that kept us all in stitches every Father's Day for years. I can give you the essence, but nobody could tell it like Wallace could.

Kalyke
07-06-2010, 08:02 PM
I was highly influenced by southern writers, but I am a Southwestern transplant in the Midwest. I have a southern reconstruction/Gothic novel coming-- several chapters have been written, but it is in a box, waiting for me to finish the three novels I am working on now.

Uncarved
07-06-2010, 08:29 PM
Just curious: how many writers out there are from the Southern part of the US? With such a rich tradition of writers (Truman Capote, Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Mitchell, etc.), I would love to know who considers his or herself part of this brotherhood of culture.

And if you are from the South, do you only write about Southern subjects? Historical or New South?


Georgia Belle(Jar) here
I write nonfiction articles and books about the South (historical and new) and what lame attempts I've had at fiction have all been southern themed as well.

DianeL
07-06-2010, 09:02 PM
Coming from the Capitol of the Confederacy - unfortunately for the purposes of this thread, though, I could not be less interested in making myself a Southern Writer as such. My entire interest in writing and storytelling is to take myself out of my own world, so my subjects are located thousands of miles and a millennium and a half away.

This said, I am fierce about my roots, and do treasure certain other Southern writers. There is little that offends me like lazily characterized Southerners in other people's writing (books, stories, and of course particularly TV and film).

But I am surrounded by writers obsessed with our city and with the Civil War. It's so thick around here, it brings out the contrarian in me. I don't get the overwhelming proportion it represents in the local writing population. Every year at the James River Writers conference (ridiculously recommended, by the way, y'all!), I get to scratching my head over how few of my fellow regional writers do seem to want to get into any other worlds. To me that's a major point in writing - and, of course, being a contrarian, I resist what others are doing.

Not at all incidentally, this is actually the first sentence of my bio. "Diane Major is a native of Richmond Virginia, who has no desire to become the next great Southern Novelist."

Sorry - I hope this doesn't come across as hopelessly snotty. It's really not meant to, but this very point has fascinated me for a good while now!

Jamesaritchie
07-06-2010, 09:42 PM
I was born in the north, but all my family is southern, and I spent a great deal of my growing up years in the south. I love many southern writers, but I don't like to think of myself as part of any particular tradition or culture.

I just want to tell stories that I find interesting. There are too many faux southern writers out there.

Smish
07-06-2010, 10:00 PM
I'm a Kentucky girl who writes contemporary MG and YA. My stories always take place in the South. I've lived in other places (including northern states and England) as an adult, but when tapping into my inner-child for my writing, Kentucky is what I know.

the addster
07-06-2010, 10:41 PM
My grandfather knew Cole Younger and I don't know one person who wasn't dressed up as either Tom Sawyer or Becky Thatcher at some point in their childhood. I live in a four column house that once belonged to a Confederate Colonel. Am I a southern writer? Hell, I don't know.

SirOtter
07-07-2010, 12:14 AM
My grandfather knew Cole Younger

My great-great grandfather was a cousin of Jesse and Frank James. Jesse used my ancestor's last name, Howard, as an alias while living near Nashville.

My wife's grandfather managed a fighter in the 30s. After one bout on the road somewhere, a rough-looking character came up to Charlie and complimented him on his boy, whose win had garnered the gentleman a few bucks in wagers. Charlie, not usually a particularly tactful person, found it advisable to be very polite to the man he recognized as Baby-Face Nelson.

kaitiepaige17
07-07-2010, 12:19 AM
I'm from southern Tennessee, currently living in northern Tennessee. I only write southern characters (modern) because that's what I know. I've never lived up North, so I don't think I could write characters from there very well, or get the style of living right.

DianeL
07-07-2010, 01:19 AM
I'm supposed to be a cousin of some sort to the James boys as well.

And we're all related to Lees and Carters by some-cousin-or-other.

Still, I don't know half about the Jameses that I do about Late Antiquity and the medieval period. I guess for me it's more about interest than red clay and DNA ... And I'm fascinated by distant history.

Chris P
07-07-2010, 01:24 AM
I'm from southern Tennessee, currently living in northern Tennessee.

So you moved across the street? :D


I only write southern characters (modern) because that's what I know. I've never lived up North, so I don't think I could write characters from there very well, or get the style of living right.

It's not that much different unless you try to make the regionalism part of the story. People don't notice if you don't give a northern character a northern accent, but they will notice if you do the northern accent wrong!

Jadedinsc
07-07-2010, 03:59 AM
I'm a South Carolina gal born and raised, and I'm currently trying to move to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. :D I don't, however, write about the South since I tend to favor high fantasy, though that's not to say some things about the South don't inspire me. In the world I've created, there are a couple of events in its history that are definitely inspired by Southern history and my own experiences growing up here (even if I didn't realize it until fairly recently).

SirOtter
07-07-2010, 04:17 AM
People don't notice if you don't give a northern character a northern accent, but they will notice if you do the northern accent wrong!

Just use your find & replace function to transform every "you all/y'all/yawl/ya'll" into "youse guys", and you'll be fine. ;)

sharonda.harris84
07-08-2010, 03:12 AM
Great posts! Just like DianeL, I tend to write about the South because I hate the stereotypes placed on Southerners. I'm more of a screenwriter, currently living in LA, but my home will always be Bayou Country.

I'm more of a modern Southern writer, but I don't write just for the South. It is a large influence, however. I think it is in our blood to be storytellers. Good luck to everyone! Oh, and SirOtter, you forgot "wicked", "pop", and "and stuff". :D

DianeL
07-08-2010, 03:31 AM
sharonda.harris84, I definitely own my love of (and defensiveness for) the South, but I actually don't write about it. I'm working in historical fiction, set in Late Antiquity, at the "fall of Rome" as people like to call it. My next novel will take place in Ravenna and Constantinople, touching the Eastern empire and Justinian's Plague. My third, still in distant planning stages, will be set in the channel islands at the period of the Norman Conquest. Few belles to be had with my work (but one ass-kicking Ostragothic queen, if you like those!).

tutty
07-08-2010, 08:43 AM
LOVE Southern gothic fiction. I grew up in Georgia and Florida; I'll be living in Virginia by the end of summer. And I do write about it.

cameron_chapman
07-08-2010, 04:37 PM
I'm a New Englander, but spent my high school years in Virginia and definitely take a lot of influence and inspiration from southern culture and writing. At some point I may move back south. I've already written one novel set in Virginia (a fictional town based on a real town that was about 20 minutes from where I went to school). I want to write a southern gothic novel at some point, but have yet to come up with an idea I really love.

Ruth2
07-08-2010, 08:57 PM
Born in New Orleans, grew up south of Shreveport, had a pretty Southern Gothic life as a child. Used to play in the little building Josh Logan typed out "The Wisteria Tree" in.

Some of my characters are Southern although they don't stay there. Most of them end up with French surnames. Heck, I was a teen before I realized "Laffitte" was French. It's kind of hard to get away from it when you grew up that immersed in the culture.

Rhoda Nightingale
07-09-2010, 01:10 AM
I'm from Virginia, and have family from all up and down the East Coast. My current WIP is the first one that I've actually set in The South--it's turning into a road trip kind of novel, since one of my characters is an artist on tour. "The Carrion Girl" is set partially in a town that's very similar to one around here, but it's not distinctly Southern. And since it's a zombie novel, it mostly takes place inside a locked up videostore.

I have no interest in writing about the South. I write to get away from my everyday surroundings.

Sweet Tea
07-10-2010, 08:55 AM
Born and raised in Georgia - absolutely adore Eudora Welty.

Kaylee
07-11-2010, 07:59 AM
I'm from Arkansas. Most of my characters are from here. I don't use a g in anytime when a southern character is speaking. I love the southern language which I fear is dieing out. I used to use ain't all the time in school. One teacher would tell me over and over that it wasn't a word that it wasn't in the dictionary. Well teach it is now.

kaitiepaige17
07-11-2010, 08:16 AM
So you moved across the street? :D



It's not that much different unless you try to make the regionalism part of the story. People don't notice if you don't give a northern character a northern accent, but they will notice if you do the northern accent wrong!

Hahaha :P Hey, give it some credit! Five hour drive...yeah, yeah I know :) But I guess I mean more of the atmosphere. I sure don't think kids from New York go mudding and go cow tipping. :D Not that I do or anything...No, really....

~*Kate*~
07-11-2010, 08:52 AM
Also Arkansas. Kaylee, rep me where you're from! :)

I don't know that I fit the Southern Literary tradition, but my settings are definitely southern, although one book is in Oklahoma-- I always think of it and Texas a little differently than the deep South.

Phaeal
07-11-2010, 04:37 PM
I aspire to continue the great New England writing tradition. :D

Phaeal
07-11-2010, 04:43 PM
But having lived for a long time in the part of the Florida panhandle that is culturally more south Georgia, I can do Southern, too. Biregionalism rocks!

;)

DianeL
07-19-2010, 04:51 AM
I have no interest in writing about the South. I write to get away from my everyday surroundings.

Great Zot, YES. One of the few things I dislike about my annual writers conference here locally is the thick miasma of Southerninity, actually. When I hear twenty first pages read in a row, and EIGHTEEN of them are self-obsessed navel gazings about the region (either contemporary or historical), I have to admit, I wonder why so few of the creative people producing this stuff can't think more than fifty miles away from home. I love the south, but I read and write to learn something I'm not already surrounded by. I litereally don't get the point, I get bewildered that "creativity" doesn't mean going farther afield for more people.

Kitty27
07-19-2010, 04:06 PM
Born and raised in GA.

I love my culture and region to bits.

I write about the modern South. Writing about the Old South is not my cup of tea.

Much of the South is in my novels. From the cooking to the speech,it's always with me. Plus,I write vampires roaming the A!

kaitlin008
07-19-2010, 04:30 PM
I sure don't think kids from New York go mudding and go cow tipping. :D

Not New York City, maybe, but upstate and in New England? For sure.
(I mean, except that you can't actually tip over a cow since they don't sleep standing up ;) )

backslashbaby
07-19-2010, 05:05 PM
Great Zot, YES. One of the few things I dislike about my annual writers conference here locally is the thick miasma of Southerninity, actually. When I hear twenty first pages read in a row, and EIGHTEEN of them are self-obsessed navel gazings about the region (either contemporary or historical), I have to admit, I wonder why so few of the creative people producing this stuff can't think more than fifty miles away from home. I love the south, but I read and write to learn something I'm not already surrounded by. I litereally don't get the point, I get bewildered that "creativity" doesn't mean going farther afield for more people.

Hold up a second :) Think of a few important non-Southern writers who wrote about their own culture. Let the names and their work sink in a minute.

Now imagine saying to them that their work is "self-obsessed navel gazings about the region."

Aaaack. That breaks my brain ;)

DianeL
07-20-2010, 06:04 AM
backslashbaby, I wasn't discussing important writers per se. I was discussing the extent to which (a) the screeners of first-pages for this Conference skewed to "Southern literature" and (b) the (apparent) number of local writers who could NOT write about anything else. What sinks in at the point of witnessing proportions like these, several years running, is that the overwhelming culture is: well, overwhelming.

That breaks *my* brain. As a storyteller, I do not understand the point of writing that close to personal experience. I love my home, I find the culture of my family, my region, my magnificent wrought-iron-clad city ineffably beautiful. But, though I can imagine writing about it - I cannot imagine writing about nothing *else*. And the indication of these first-pages sessions was that few people could imagine writing about *anything* else.

For the record, part of my point is that I think that indication is incorrect. Last year, proportions did shift, after about three years of homogeneity. As a writer, attending a conference, some part of the point (for *me*) is to expose myself to different things, different people, writers, and stories. It's hard to do that if the predominant style represented is all one of two things (Civil War South, and contemporary South - not even any early 20th century, native, or Civil Rights South represented). It defeats the purpose in a way, and perhaps distorts the reality of who's even there. I don't find that noble, or necessary to respect. I found it, before the aforementioned changes, alienating and perhaps in a way disrespectful of anything but that narrow view of Southern writer-dom.

thothguard51
07-20-2010, 06:58 AM
Another Virginian here but I have lived all over this great country of ours and I have to say there is a cultural difference no matter where you live, from where you were raised. I lived in Huntsville Alabama for a few years and even though I am a southern boy, it was a shock at how southern they were down there...

I use Virginia and the Outer Banks in North Carolina in some of my short romance stories as well as a few detective stories, but my first love is Fantasy fiction on other worlds.

And West Virginia still owes Virginia for succeeding after the Civil War. The supreme court says so, and them damn Yankee turn coats have never paid up. I wonder what my share would be with interest...

kaitiepaige17
07-20-2010, 06:59 AM
Not New York City, maybe, but upstate and in New England? For sure.
(I mean, except that you can't actually tip over a cow since they don't sleep standing up ;) )

Lol see, proves I've never done it :P