Writing Meme: day 13- Favorite Cultures and Times

*Skipping question 12 of this neverending meme since it doesn’t pertain to my works (least not thus far)

13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

Well, it’s not a culture per se, but obviously my favorite time period to write about is the 19th century.    Just an amazing, vital time: the Romantics, The Free Love Movement (yes, that was around way before the hippies!), Spiritualism,  The Transcendentalists, the birth of the telegraph (the internet of its day) art movements from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Hudson River School, to all the vast political and religious movements…

But, being the history buff that I am, I also have a great desire to explore characters in ancient civilizations and see how their stories unfold under my pen.

What about you?

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Uhhh… hmmm. Do people often write about different cultures? I would think that would be hard, since most of us are only intimately familiar with whatever culture we live in. Except for fantasy and sci-fi writers, for whom it’s pretty much open season 🙂

    I’ve set stories in both the past, present and the future, as well as fantasy realms. I don’t think I could say I prefer one over the others. It’s just whatever the story calls for.

  2. Argh… clearly past, present and future does not qualify as “both.” I started the comment saying only past and future, then added ‘present’ and didn’t edit out the word ‘both.’

  3. I usually write present day in America, so I’m probably horrible for this question. Most of my stuff is set in big metro areas.

  4. Well, I’m a fantasy writer, and definitely not of the historical variety, so it’s open season for me. 🙂

    But admittedly, I love writing worlds loosely based off dark ages England/Wales/Scotland/Ireland. I know it’s so overdone it’s practically a cliche, but I don’t care. 🙂

  5. Amy, I wouldn’t worry about it being cliche. Those books are still selling, people can’t seem to get enough of that style and setting.

  6. Heya DD,

    Actually, I think a lot of people are drawn to write about cultures different from their own. None of my characters have been of my ethic background, although my protagonist of my latest WIP is whispering that she may be. 🙂

    As you said, it depends on what the story calls for.

  7. No worries Colby, I’m sure metro areas have their own culture. 😉

  8. Hi Amy,

    DD beat me to it. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter how many times a story is set in a certain time or place. Only thing that matters is that you make the story your own. Which I’m sure you will. 🙂

  9. They may be a different ethnicity but would you, for instance, set a story in Nigeria told through the eyes of a Nigerian child? I wouldn’t, because I couldn’t do it convincingly or authentically (although there are probably people who can, if they know the culture intimately). I think writing a character who may hail from another culture (like an Irish maid, or German cook) is not the same thing as setting a story in a different culture, or maybe I’m misinterpreting the question?

  10. I think the question pertains to both of the examples you gave.

    Regarding setting the story in a different country/culture, I think as you said, it depends on how intimiately one knows or understands the culture. Obviously there are many difficulties, but sometimes a person may have a true affinity for one.

  11. p.s. And geez no, I could never write a story about a Nigerian child growing up in Nigeria. Not something I’d ever attempt.

    Of course, I also wouldn’t write from the POV of a modern day American girl who loves pop music and hip-hop and all those sort of things, because it would also be so unauthentic. I could find out whose hot today, what the latest lingo is, but it would just be facts. There would be no truth, no believability.

  12. I don’t think your second example would be undoable, though. Since you did yourself grow up in the US, picking up a few buzzwords wouldn’t be that hard. The culture is not completely foreign to you 😉 With a completely unknown culture, like the Nigerian example, that’s a completely different mindset, different values, and ways of looking at the world.

    As you said, people can successfully do it, if there is a true affinity for the culture (thinking of James Clavell’s “Shogun” for one). It would obviously mean a great deal of research needed to be done, but that is our stock in trade, eh? 😉


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