1. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    I'll see you... in C-U-B-A? Is cultural knowledge the most important thing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Morwen Edhelwen, Aug 17, 2012.

    *sings*
    I'm on my way to Cuba,
    That's where I'm going,
    Cuba, that's where I'll stay.

    Cuba, where wine is flowing,
    And where dark-eyed Stellas
    Light their fellas' panatellas.

    Cuba, where all is happy,
    Cuba, where all is gay,

    Why don't you plan a
    Wonderful trip to Havana
    Hop on a ship
    And I'll see you in C-U-B-A.

    - Irving Berlin, "I'll See You In C-U-B-A."

    *stops singing* During my banned period I got known on TV Tropes and started rewriting parts of my first draft of an alternate history steampunk YA novel I started a while ago. It's set in Cuba in the near future, and the protagonist is a literal clone of Che, living in a Cuba which is basically a mobsters' paradise, ruled by The Generalissimo, who's secretly a narcotics trafficker and uses child clones as soldiers. The song quoted above is used in tourist ads in-story (no lyrics are quoted) which the General uses to present a great public image to the international community and draw in more tourists looking to enjoy the forbidden. I've got two books: Havana Before Castro and Havana Nocturne: How The Mob Owned Cuba and Lost It To The Revolution. Both books have insights into Cuban culture and the political background of the pre-revolutionary period. I've done some research on the Internet on things like food, geography and Cuban slang, and have found some books.
    In your opinion, is cultural knowledge the most important part of a story? How would you feel if you picked up something and the culture was only referred to occasionally ie few mentions of food, customs etc? Do you think cultural knowledge is still important in a story in a setting the writer's never been to even when it's not exactly a "real-world" depiction of the setting?
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Depends on how realistic you want it to be. If you're shooting for something very close to reality, then you'll have to do that. If not, you can make some of it up. Depends on how you're going about things.
     
  3. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    The 1959 Cuban Revolution, which didn't happen in-story due to Operation Verano succeeding, is part of the historical background. But the history is only a minor part of the story.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the 'flavor' of an exotic place like cuba is a major part of what makes readers enjoy the story... most of us will never get a chance to go there, so if we can visit the place through a novel, that makes the novel worth reading... w/o it, i doubt it'll get anywhere with paying publishers, or sell well if self-pubbed...
     
  5. Morwen Edhelwen
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    Morwen Edhelwen Member

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    Thanks, mammamaia! BTW, did you leave Mexico to go back to America? How far do you think the immersion has to go?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, i'm now living in oregon... the first time i've lived in the states in 17 years...

    go as far as possible, to bring the readers there... the locale is almost another 'character' in stories like this, but unlike characters, needs to be described in much more detail, so when we read it we're pulled into the place and can feel/see/taste/smell its atmosphere... check out novels that are set in foreign locales by successful authors and you'll see what i mean... you should be doing that anyway, before diving into the task of creating your own...
     

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