Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keep culture in mind

Have you ever wondered how different you would be if you were born elsewhere? Maybe you were born in the Midwest and wonder what you would have been like if you were born in New York or Paris. It’s an interesting thought and another thing you should think about when you write about your character. Because of the culture of a place people born in different places or even different years will be influenced differently. One may think that being raised Asian is so similar that all the writer need to know is the stereotype Asian personality but each Asian country is different. Things like how affectionate people can be in public and how comfortable they are can change from country to country. An American boy dating a Japanese girl in Japan could offend her by trying to hold her hand while the same guy trying to hold a Korean girl’s hand in Korea would find it easier but she may prefer to merely link pinkies as is more polite in public. Also, an American girl would likely be more vibrant than the stereotypical quiet and helpful Asian girl.
Even differences between Americans can depend on where they were raised. A New Yorker would likely be more busy, hyper, antsy, or rushed and seemingly unfriendly than a person raised in a small town where you know everyone and the main business around is to make sure the crops grow properly and the money is still in the bank. Although a stereotype based on places is only a beginning as far as developing a character, it is still something to keep in mind. If you chose to divert from the stereotype, such as to have a calmer, more laidback girl come from NYC, be sure to make a comment on it. The comment doesn’t have to be big but you can bet that at least one of your characters would expect a girl from NYC to be hurried and glamorous and have trouble figuring out where she’s from if her accent didn’t match the stereotype in the person’s mind.

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