I would love to write:
1) A Great Southern Novel
2) A Sci-Fi/Fantasy Epic Novel Series
3) An article for The Fountain Magazine–something about the environment, about religion, something!
Since this is my dream, I’ve been doing some research on these. I’ve started with research on Southern novels. By ‘Southern’ I mean Southern United States. There is a distinct voice from Southern authors, and if I’m going to be one of them, I have to figure out what it is!
Examples of Southern literature:
- Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- A Painted House by John Grisham
- Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver (best known for The Poisonwood Bible)
- The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
- Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (adapted into the TV series TrueBlood)
So you can see there’s quite a variety of possibilities for a potential Southern novelist. I could even write Southern sci-fi/fantasy! But what do these books have in common that make them Southern? What would I need to write about to write a ‘Southern novel’?
Well, according to Wikipedia (the very height of academia), just being born south of the Mason-Dixon line is not enough. You have to write about Southern themes and places and with an “ACK-sint” if you know what I mean.
Southern themes are Southern history, the significance of family and religion, community, issues of racial tension, land, social class, and Southern dialect. Okay, sounds great. I’m not sure how that compares to what other people are writing about, but I can do that.
This weekend I visited the quilt show here in town. Man, that was some research! I’ve read elsewhere that rural themes are big in Southern literature, and let me tell you–quilts and crafts like knitting and crochet are a big part of that. Nowadays, there are book series written surrounding crafts like these. Take for example The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber (not Southern, but very good!). It’s all about a woman who achieves her dream of opening a knitting store and the characters that enter her life because of it.
I love crafts. I was taught to love creating and making things by my grandmother. We did so many projects together–crochet, fabric projects, christmas ornaments and decorations–it was a great way to pass the time visiting Grandma. And it fits the rural theme of Southern literature, and me and my grandma are Southern! So, if I can, I will incorporate crafts into my Great Southern Novel.
And I promise, Wikipedia’s not the only thing I’m reading for research. More on this later…