Wednesday, March 4, 2020

March IWSG 2020 and Traditions in Fiction Form

Many thanks to our founder Alex J. Cavanaugh and all of the co-hosts!

OPTIONAL QUESTION: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?

Last year, I wrote a short flash fiction piece which included a bit about Advent candles, but that's it.

And, an insecure thought provoked by this question and my answer:
Honestly, I feel this is an area I need to work into my writing. Even in SF and Fantasy worlds, characters must celebrate traditions, right? And yet, I haven't really included any.

What I plan to do to fix this problem in my current work:
1. My mom, grandma, and I sang when I was a child and teen. My dad would whistle, or play harmonica, or sing with us. It was a kind of family tradition, especially on car trips. My grandma would play spoons sometimes.  In one mad NaNoWriMo session, the characters in Here There Be Dragon Slayers (or THAT Dragon book) burst into song while traveling in one scene. I'm going to keep that scene and add in a singing "tradition."
Guess who is making an appearance as a side character?* (See answer at the end of this post.)

BTW, if you don't know what playing spoons looks like, check out this video with Soundgarden and the Spoonman from Seattle (a street performer I got to see live when I was growing up):

Or, see this video, which is a bit more like how my grandma played spoons, except she also sang. Her brother used to play banjo:

2. In Anomalies book 2 (okay yes, I need to finish fixing book 1), I have a Halloween costume planning scene and a Halloween trick-or-treating scene gone wrong with my original draft. The whole book is going to have to change in large chunks, but I want to keep that part somehow because it helped me discuss costuming and super-powers, plus it helps develop Ray's character more. Ray is nearly equal to Dunnie in MC awesomeness. I thought about changing it with Ray as the MC, but that just didn't work for the whole book and really struck me the wrong way, so Dunnie is still lead, but Ray is right there with him as his enemy-turned-friend (Not much spoiler there, really, if you read my flash fiction story about them - which started this whole project).


The IWSG Goodreads Book Club has offered up two choices of books this month. You can participate by reading either Chill Factor by Sandra Brown or The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

IWSG Instagram is hosting a Blarney Contest. Rules are as follows:
1. You must participate on Instagram. In the comments or on your own feed. If you participate on your own feed, you MUST tag @theIWSG on Instagram. Otherwise, I won't be able to find your story and you won't be able to receive the prize (fame, infamy, a shout-out). 
2. The stories must be 100 words or less and include one or more of the following three elements:
The Blarney Stone
One character using flattery/charm on another
A Leprechaun
3. The winner will be awarded the Best Blarney Award (a picture for Instagram) and given a shout-out on the IWSG Instagram page. (That's it, sorry, no monetary award, just a bit of shout-out for fame and infamy). 
4. The entries must be posted between March 10-17.
Remember, this contest is ONLY on Instagram. 

*If you guessed Maud from "Of Words and Swords" from the IWSG Fantasy Anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, you would be right.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now that you mention it, I did put a traditional festival in one of my stories. It is possible with science fiction to include them.

Yolanda Renée said...

They play spoons on Hew Haw every day, I think. My husband loves that show and all the old shows on ME-TV. LOL.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm always in awe of people who play any instrument. How creative to use spoons to make music.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I always wish I could play an instrument. I've tried off and on during the years, but I never stuck with anything and/or nothing every stuck with me. Maybe some day! :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

We sang in our house all the time I was growing up. My mother had been a professional singer prior to having kids. My dad had a voice that sounded like a cross between Ray Price and Dean Martin. And my mum played the piano, guitar, accordion, and pretty well anything she set her mind to.

krystal jane said...

I have tiny traditions that show up in some books, but unless it's a driving force in the plot, it's largely something that isn't covered. It's a fun way to add depth and characterization to stories though. I don't think I have anyone in my family who plays spoons! That's really fun.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I envy people who play any kind of instrument, because I can't play any instrument.

Chrys Fey said...

A singing tradition would be a great thing for characters to do in a book. I'd smile while reading that.

emaginette said...

Legends, traditions, and tales of destiny can really enhance a fantasy/sci-fi story. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Jacqui Murray said...

What a great video. 30 million hits! I've never seen one that high.

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I haven't had any traditions pop up on my stories, but I'm sure it will happen one day.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If I started singing in the car, I'd find my butt on the side of the road. LOL

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you were able to use your family's musical traditions.

Sarah Foster said...

Of course I guessed Maud! LOL
I like the singing tradition you added into your story.

M.J. Fifield said...

That's interesting—I was also thinking about my fantasy world's holidays and traditions recently because they're not really mentioned all that much in the story. Apparently, I've been too busy making my characters' lives miserable and they haven't had time to celebrate anything. :)

My sister and I sing broadway musicals together whenever we go on road trips.

Lee Lowery said...

I've decided that including traditions, even the made up kind, can add some humanity and ground characters in any story. Even the horror genre I write in. Who knew?

Jemi Fraser said...

One of my friend's grandmothers played the spoons and it was amazing!
I love music of any sort and wholeheartedly support your singing traditions!!

Debra Renée Byrd said...

I mention a festival in a side-story to my fantasy that will not see the light of day, so I should find a way to slip it into the current book haha.

Thanks for co-hosting.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I knew I put some family tradition in my stories. I come from a long line of car singers. I think most of my stories, when they are driving, they are singing.