Southern fiction is about story, driven by
characters who are
distinctly southern and/or characters who move to southern settings
(which are also characters). Southern characters fall into several
categories and should not be stereotyped.
Writers of Southern fiction understand the diversity of the foods of
the South. They understand that Southerners—even those without strong
religious tendencies—will often “rest” in the South’s religion, which
for FSF’s purposes is conservative, evangelical Christianity.
Writers of Southern fiction should have a
grasp on how characters
within Southern Fiction novels might play, sing, and dance to the music
of the South. Writers under the FSF banner should understand the
politics of the South—the history of it and the way it changed and
stayed the same. They should understand that Southerners can be called
an “aristocrat” or “old money,” a “redneck,” or described as being
“back woods,” and “good ol’ folks.” Southerners—and therefore writers
of Southern fiction—know the difference between a good good ol’ boy and
a bad good ol’ boy, and they never fall into turning their characters
into a cliché. Writers of Southern fiction understand that Southern
characters may think nothing of the sometimes/oftentimes bizarre
behavior of her people and their deeply-rooted superstitions, even
within the church. Southern characters in FSF novels know the
landscapes of the South and the cultural and language differences that
lay within her various regions. This is not to say that every character
will hold every quality; there should be diversity in the author’s
portrayal of their characters.
The Civil War is featured, overtly or as the source of attitudes and
ideals, in nearly all Southern fiction because, somehow, those four
years affected everything that came before and continues to affect
events today. Many Southerners still refer to it as the War of Northern
Aggression. Southern fiction within the Firefly Southern Fiction line
should understand the causes of the war, slavery, how the South’s
defeat affected the region and her people, Jim Crow laws and their
ramifications on Southern blacks, the Civil Rights Movement, the Klan,
and desegregation. But writers should never attempt to justify any poor
behavioral choices made during those eras which, in the light of
history, were misguided and cruel.
Southern fiction is strong in faith and religion. Even without it being
mentioned out loud, Southerners have a solid and personal sense of God
(see the above reference to Southerners and religion).
Southern fiction is strong in family, family history, and family
values. Her characters include people as well as small towns, big
cities, houses with wrap-around porches, plantations, farmhouses, and
shanties. Landscape is as important to story as plot and character.
Southern fiction can be as deep in angst as it is in humor. It can be
as haunting as it is hilarious. Within its pages one is likely to find
the “big house” and the “outhouse.” The faith, family dynamics,
tragedies, and triumphs of Firefly Southern Fiction characters must
ring true to life.
As most Southerners know, dialect changes from location to location in
the South. Those who live in the Appalachians do not speak in the same
dialect or with the same idioms as those who live in the Low Country of
South Carolina and Georgia. Dialect within region should ring true and
should never fall within stereotype. The flow of dialect and,
therefore, dialogue, should come naturally from character to character,
location to location.
Southern locations include those states commonly called “Dixie” (North
and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and
Arkansas), and may include Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky, and
Virginia. Southern locations sometimes includes West Virginia and