Thursday, April 23, 2015

Leesburg First Friday: Writing Across Cultures

By Linda Budzinski

 Photo: Peggy Hanson

When writing fiction, making stuff up sometimes is the easy part. It’s getting the facts right—the history, the geography, the climate, and the ambiance of the setting—that can be the real challenge. This is particularly true when writing across cultures.

At its April First Friday event, the Writer’s Center–Leesburg Committee hosted well-traveled mystery writer Peggy Hanson, who shared her experiences writing Deadline Istanbul, Deadline Yemen, and the forthcoming Deadline Indonesia.

Having lived abroad for years, Hanson brought to bear extensive personal experiences and knowledge of the cultures of those countries in her work. Still, she said, she relied on additional research to make sure she had her facts right.

Among her advice for writing across cultures: First, fall in love with the place you are writing about. Second, maps are your friends. Buy maps of the countries, study them, and refer to them often. And third, always keep in mind how the political activities and the historical background of the setting will affect your characters and your plot.

Coming Up in May

At the May First Friday event two young adult authors will share practical advice for “Orienting Your Reader.”

Valerie O. Patterson, author of The Other Side of Blue and Operation Oleander, will discuss how to bring setting to life for the reader, and Linda Budzinski, author of  The Funeral Singer and the forthcoming Em and Em, will explore how raising questions in the mind of the reader can serve as a guide through the story.

The Writer’s Center–Leesburg Committee offers events the first Friday of every month except for December, January, July, and August. Events are held at the Leesburg Town Hall, 25 W. Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176. 

No comments: