For other caption fun, visit Quips Cards It’s a Victoria BC company and some of the cards are hilarious. I see they’ve animated some of them for the web. So clever!
Here’s one as a taste.
Off you go. I’ll wait a while for you to come back here. *G*
Here’s a picture. Anyone got a caption?
While I’m on a pictorial theme, how about some English touring? I realized the BBC has panoramas of many places. They have a lot of still pictures, too, but the panoramas are fun. There are, however, a large number of football stadiums!
So let’s start with a stroll down Canterbury High Street. How about lunch at the Weaver?
Canterbury is, of course, one of England’s most ancient and important cathedral cities, so check out all these panoramas and have a wander on your own.Canterbury index.
I can never resist a castle, even if it is in ruins.
Here’s one of Sidmouth in Devon. I used it as the base for the coastal town in Skylark
(Hate that cover!)
Sidmouth is a lovely old town which was very popular in the early 19th century because the headlands at either side of the bay created a sheltered winter climate. Many of those houses in the picture date back to then.
And lastly for the panoramas — A cornfield in Yorkslhire. Yes, that really is corn, ie maize. In England, of course, "corn" means grains like wheat and barley. I had my characters talking about corn fields in some of my early books and got letters correcting me. So now I write around it.
What do you think about that sort of thing? Should authors avoid correct terms for the place and period that might create problems for some readers, or should readers be led into enlightenment, perhaps even by footnotes? And how much leeway should we get in the other direction? Can we any language that works for the modern American reader?
When writing about a foreign country, how much should we respect that language and culture? I have to
say that as an Englishwoman I get irritated if authors don’t seem to have tried at all, but have romped merrily into something rather like the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas! I know there’s an element of fantasy in romance novels, but to me it’s a matter of respect. Perhaps we’re allowed to play games with our own culture and history, but not with other people’s.What do you think?
How far can the writer setting books in foreign lands alter values to suit their home readership? In response to a very interesting blog by Laura vivanco at the wonderful Teach Me Tonight blog. (That’s a link to a number of Laura’s blogs. The one I’m referring to is the second "My Route From Here" but the others are great, too.
I wrote a comment. The first part is Laura, then my comment.
Laura: "I would like to do a bit of work on some romances which seemed to have
a particularly explicit American flavour (e.g. representing the
American dream through the characters and plot, or explicitly
describing particular things/places as American)."
Me: "I’m not quite
sure what you mean by this, Laura, but I’m aware of two story aspects
that strike me as American (possibly also Canadian and other immigrant
based countries) that often jar with historical realities of long
established cultures such as European ones.
One is the appeal of
the self-made man — using man specifically. It doesn’t seem to matter
much with the heroines. In fact, an establishment/aristocratic heroine
is often paired with the up-by-the-bootstraps hero, and stated or
implied is that he is more worthy than all men of her own class or
The other is the pull toward exploration and the new
rather than the tending of the value to hand, which often brings
restraints of responsibility and honor which are seen as unappealing
and even weakening — ie, the hero’s a wimp for accepting the role he’s
been born to.
I very much enjoy self-made heroes and heroines,
but their stories have to make some sense in their time and place.
There have been good examples throughout history. However, it jars when
the novel assumes that the self-made are inherently more noble or of
more value. There are plenty of historical examples of self-made people
who were truly awful, driven by ambition, greed and selfishness.
are also plenty of examples of people born to privilege and power who
were truly noble and benevolent, often at great cost to themselves."
So, what do you think about this? If, let’s say, the Japanese had a thriving fiction market for books set in America, with American characters, but those characters followed Japanese social patterns and values, would it bother you? (They might, for all I know. I know something of Manga, which is odd in this respect, but not usually set in a semi-realistic foreign country.)
Have fun, always!