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Guidelines for Non-Americans on Writing a Classic American Story - Claire Polders
Put a character in a house with a porch and a yard, and call the place old, even though less than two centuries weigh it down. A picket fence is useful, along with a crabapple tree. Mention alcohol abuse or bootlegging, or get at least one character stupidly drunk. They may gulp down beer or whiskey or bourbon. Unless you take the story in the direction of A.A. If a male college professor appears, he better have an affair with one of his students. If it’s a female professor, she better be really forgetful and messy, or have the whole faculty working against her. Add a cowboy.