Recently I was lucky enough to try my hand at a new technique of writing called Regionalism and local color in short fiction.
I hope that wasn't a sigh I heard?
Anyway, this new opportunity meant research, another new concept for me for most of my writing is strongly non-fictional, but I was ready for something different, ready for a new challenge and who knows I might pull something great off.
For those who don't know what 'Regionalism and local color' writing is, here's a little bit about it.
By definition, local color is defined as the characteristics and traits that make a location unique, like the gold fields - as I happened to choose for my story. It's about the food shops and attitudes of the people in a town.
Local color stories concentrate on landscape, dialect like that found in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it's about customs and folklore specific to geographic region or locale. It's said that the setting can be so integral to the story that it sometimes becomes a character itself.
Thematically, many local color stories share an aversion to change, a weakness for sentimentality or nostalgia for the anachronistic beliefs of a past. It's a place where characters adhere to traditional gender, ethnic and social economic roles - so it's like keeping things real. But when it comes to plot, often very little happens for the storytelling itself revolves mostly around the community and it's rituals rather than one character's experiences.
Local color taught me a thing or two other than writing in a new genre, it taught me the importance of accuracy in research and how I was able to manipulate what I found to structure my own story and characters in a way I visualised. It allowed me to have fun with characters, setting and dialect, so much so perhaps my story wandered more towards character than locale - I don't know - I'll leave that for the judges to decide.
Regardless, this new sense of short-fiction writing brought new life and interest for me personally, I really felt my character's come alive more than ever, I could really see them living how I plotted their lives and most importantly it gave me a far more thorough understanding of my own locale I never knew existed. It presented an opportunity to visit local cemeteries and historic land marks, such as old mines I never would've otherwise. It gave me the in-depth knowledge needed to understand local history and then translate that into something inspiring through my penmanship.
I've added a few paragraphs of my local writing in my page titled 'Writing Stuff,' please head over and have a read, tell me what you think.