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Thread: Story Conventions from other countries

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  1. #1
    Banned for Trolling
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    Nov 2010
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    Story Conventions from other countries

    I may phrase this poorly, so cut me a little slack...

    I've observed certain cultures and subcultures around the world *tend* to, (not always) have some story conventions that are not compatible with say, what makes "mainstream" storytelling in another country.

    I also admit as a fan of worldwide stories I *love* inserting story conventions from the country I'm writing about. I'm likely to pick up some French story conventions when writing a story set in France with French characters. Or Japanese story conventions when writing a story in Japan. (I admit to cherry picking but people from their own countries also cherry pick.)

    Anyone have a list of some story conventions that aren't typical in what's advised as what makes literature, literature (lower case intended) in the American mind?

    My List (so far):
    - Some people hate the open endings on Japanese stories.
    - "Info dump" at the beginning of trad. Chinese stories. (In some old mainland dramas, it's really thick.)
    - The constant poetic endings of Korean stories. (Mostly folktales).
    - Korean love stories *used* to end with long separations as the final proof of love, which I know drive people in the West crazy *cough* End of Goong Manhwa. Though I can tick off more traditional literature too. The long separation is still a convention in Korean dramas.
    - I've seen a complaint that Magic Realism was a Mexican? story telling style... that was kinda commandeered by the American public??
    - In Indian films, the format (older than the current one) didn't follow the three-act play. Sometimes there wasn't even a sense of a beginning middle and end in the Western sense. I really liked it... and tried to copy it a bit.
    - Some West African folktales have this kind of cadence to the language and the language selection I really, really like. (Listening both in native and translated.)
    - I LOVE Japanese slice of life, which is slow, methodical, detail-oriented, and never cuts to the chase too fast. It builds slowly to the "main story" but then by the end you realize that the beginning was the beginning after all. (Princess Kaguya. Or Peach Boy has this structure. I've been in love with it since I was a child.)

    I also realize that sometimes language use can be stacked against people too. I have a few hang ups from once being fluent in a language I can't fully remember anymore.

    Shouldn't an editor when asking for PoC fiction be aware of this type of thing? Also I'd love to see that list above expanded. What other storytelling conventions may an average editor not be aware of?
    Last edited by Rachel Udin; 05-24-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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