Kristopher Reisz ([info]kris_reisz) wrote,
@ 2008-07-02 08:20:00
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Entry tags:the drowned forest, writing

The F in "F-list" stands for "focus group," right?
I sent out some of the WIP to my beta-readers a few days ago. (Currently called The Drowned Forest, which I hope I get to keep.) I hate showing stuff to anybody until it's polished, but this book has been--for me, at least--heading into uncharted territory on several levels, and I wanted some reactions to that before forging ahead.

One of the questions that's come up is how much "Southernness" the thing has. How much can I steep the story in traditions and culture without confusing, or even losing, readers who weren't raised in rural Alabama.

So here's my request: read this bit from the WIP and, particularly if you don't live in the Southeastern United States, tell me what's happening. (The answer and more on the subject to follow.)


Pastor Wesley stands knee-deep in the river, arms reaching toward the new converts on the bank. Sunlight reflects off the water. It ripples in his open hands and against the white robes of the converts.
“So we’ve come, just as they did, down by the riverside. To accept our helplessness without Him. To lay down our burdens. For Him to pick up.”

We who’ve come to witness let out shouts of praise to punctuate the Good News. Chase, beneath the crooked claw of an oak tree’s branches, plucks the opening hook on his guitar. It’s that hook, the one we all know from our own baptisms and every Rivercall since. This song is in our bones.

Gonna lay down my heavy load down by the riverside. Down by the riverside. Down by the riverside. I’m gonna lay down my heavy load…

Pastor Wesley’s words sink under our singing. Hands clap and bodies sway with the tall grass around us. Faye, a bouncing ball of excitement and taffeta, jumps around to a rhythm all her own.

Gonna put on my long white robe down by the riverside. Down by the riverside. Down by the riverside. I’m gonna put on my long white robe…



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[info]tmthomas
2008-07-02 01:57 pm UTC (link)
I'm going to suggest adult Baptism of some sort, but really...I know that more from the Simpsons than any knowledge of the rest of this country. Anything more specific than that is lost on me.

Edited at 2008-07-02 01:58 pm UTC

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[info]orrin
2008-07-02 02:01 pm UTC (link)
As said above, I know that it's a baptism of some kind. Thanks, primarily, to the Simpsons and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and a handful of other movies.

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[info]charleneteglia
2008-07-02 02:34 pm UTC (link)
Southern revival meeting. Baptism in the river. Makes me think of the contrasting scene from O Brother Where Art Thou. *ggg*

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[info]leahclifford
2008-07-03 03:50 am UTC (link)
Damn! You beat me to the O Brother reference!

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[info]mroctober
2008-07-02 02:52 pm UTC (link)
A bar mitzvah! One of those expensive ones that they do outsides. I forget the yiddish word for kudzu... maybe shmudzu?

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[info]tmthomas
2008-07-02 03:16 pm UTC (link)
Steve for the win.

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[info]brimfire
2008-07-02 03:03 pm UTC (link)
Totally a baptism in a river. Is it not common knowledge that some churches do that? I'm from Texas, but I'm thinking the reason I know it's a river baptism is from what I've seen in the movies.

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[info]serafina_zane
2008-07-02 03:08 pm UTC (link)
Took me a while, but the song kind of did it for the inference that it's some kind of baptism ceremony thing. and i'm definitly not from the South.

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[info]kaitiana
2008-07-02 05:57 pm UTC (link)
Definitely a river Baptism. I'm from Missouri and know that some churches around here do those Baptisms, rather than the sprinkle sort.

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[info]calicokelsey
2008-07-02 06:05 pm UTC (link)
I from central Indiana, believes a baptism is going on, a Baptist one, not the Catholic ones where they just sprinkle water on you. Of course my father is from rural lousville kentucky, and was baptised the same way, so maybe I have an advantage.

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[info]bondgwendabond
2008-07-02 07:31 pm UTC (link)
I _am_ from the southeastern U.S., but I think it'd be clear even if I wasn't -- especially if I'd seen O Brother Where Art Thou. I say embrace the regionalist stuff if you need it for the flavor of the story.

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[info]nicbemused
2008-07-02 08:35 pm UTC (link)
It's clearly an outdoor baptism possibly with a revival aspect.

I'm not from the SE US (from just about everywhere else, but the last time I was in Alabama I was 3).

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[info]mikaela_l
2008-07-02 09:30 pm UTC (link)
The first thing that popped into my mind was the mass baptism of pagans that took place during the dark ages ( 700-900, roughly)

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(Anonymous)
2008-07-02 10:57 pm UTC (link)
Ah, a rare glimpse of an offering ceremony to He-Who-Lurks-Among-The-Reeds, performed by a degenerate cult on the shores of the Faiyum . . .

No?

Oh, well. I tried.


Scott, who ain't from 'round here

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[info]cabrewer
2008-07-02 11:55 pm UTC (link)
Even being from the Wild West by way of New Yawk,(and only ever having been trapped in the South for 12 weeks) I know what's going on. Trust your readers. We're not as dumb as we think we are.

Boy, are they going to be surprised when that(K)lan BattleMech comes stomping through the trees ...

Constance

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[info]coph_nia
2008-07-03 12:11 am UTC (link)
I was raised in a Southern Baptist church in Pensacola, FL. That thar would be a baptism! All it needs to be complete is a fish fry afterward ~.^

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[info]cracked_jar
2008-07-03 02:10 am UTC (link)
Baptism. En masse. With spectators. I haven't actually seen one like that (I've seen them mostly in churches), but I've seen things like that in movies, and I think it's a good description. It calls to mind a scene from the movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

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[info]viereckschanze
2008-07-05 04:16 am UTC (link)
I'm not from the South, either, but I actually took part in one of those immersion baptisms. You've described it quite accurately.

trev

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(Anonymous)
2008-07-10 10:04 pm UTC (link)
As a life-long New Englander, that is clearly an underground sex club into water sports. The lyrics give it away. Maybe you need to put in something about everyone being cousins to clarify.

Oh, wait. I misread the word 'convert.' My bad. It's an Amway sales meeting.

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[info]markdf
2008-07-10 10:05 pm UTC (link)
Whoops. That was me.

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