Helpful help requested

I’ve been working on a story for awhile now. Years actually, because of many things, it got tucked away in the to-be-done-later pile. Lately it’s been poking at me and I think I’m going to try working on it. When I was getting my PhD, I’d be working on my dissertation and hit a wall. I’d switch to a novel I was working on until that hit a wall. Then I’d switch back and suddenly I could work on the diss. Back and forth like that is how I got through with some scraps of sanity intact. I am thinking of trying the same thing with two novels. I don’t know if I can do that. But I think I’m going to try. In order to do that, I’m going to have to develop outlines for both. Even thin, bare bones sorts of outlines. But that isn’t where I need help.

This story is set in Tennessee. I’m looking for things I can read or stories you can tell about specific instances in the south, experiences you’ve had or heard of, newspapers, non-fiction, fiction–really anything. I want to get a sense of the cadence of the language. I had that pretty well nailed down previously, but I’ve lost it over the years and I want to find it again. So I ask you for all the help you can give me to a feel for the language and place and people. This will also give me some fodder. Foods, too! Anything you can think of.  I have even been known to watch the wedding dress in Atlanta TV show because of the southern speech patterns for some of them. I don’t want to do that. So I beg you . . . .help!


  • Adrianne Middleton

    I don’t know anything about the language. I remember mile after mile of mimosa tress along the road sides. And during a walk through the park my ex pointed out a copperhead — I never saw the thing. It looked exactly like the leaves on the trail.

  • Denisetwin

    Don’t forget the sayings that are pure southern. Bless your heart. Aren’t you special. Easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Colder than a witch’s t*t. Your turn in the barrel. Butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Too big for her britches. More nervous than a cat in a rocking chair factory. More jumpy than a cat on a hot tin roof. That dog won’t hunt. Hold your horses. Madder than a wet hen. I’ve a mind to… Can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. She looks rode hard and put up wet. That’s as useful as tits on a bull. Dumb as a box of rocks. Sweatin like a whore in church. etc. These were my Grandma’s sayings, at least the ones I could remember on short notice and were ok to actually type, LOL

  • MaryW

    Form of address: Sir & Ma’am. We moved to Virginia when the kids were young. Six years later we moved to Canada and Ma’am was replaced by Miss. When we moved back to Virginia Ma’am was still be used. My very proper Kentucky native grandmother’s only swear words were hell & dam.

    People tend to move slower in the South. They play sports hard but they really do amble.

    The observations of an Iowa native.

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