characters / descriptors / I love the USA / writers resources

What is an American?

animated_manI mean, to a writer. When you’re characterizing an American, how do you do that? In my current book, I want to show the differences between my American character and the Muslims, the Europeans, that she runs into. Sometimes I’m in a foreign POV and need to show my lead through their eyes. If you face that predicament, here are some ideas I found on foreign websites that will help. Obviously, they do not reflect my personal views. Here goes:

Hard-Working; Workaholics
Uninterested in other culturespenny_guy_walking_sm_wht_edited
Religious; socially conservative (by Euro standards)
Socially liberal (by Middle Eastern standards)
Great disparity between the rich and poor
Shallow or superficial (goes along with friendly)
Open to new technologies/ideas
Live with lots luxuries
Lightly taxed
Love fast food
Car-oriented (main/only form of transportation)
Not family-oriented (nursing homes, etc.)

Nothing like what we think of ourselves, huh? No wonder the world has trouble getting along.

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4 thoughts on “What is an American?

  1. Pingback: How I Would Characterize a Democrat | WordDreams...

  2. There are many reasons to love America, and there are also many awful things that have been done in the name of America. I can see that this list represents a non-American view, but it tends to stereotype fairly broadly. Your novel sounds like a great opportunity to make each character distinct in their views.
    I received a review of my first novel on Goodreads that expressed disappointment at the “rah-rah America”-type attitude of the story. However, the character in question was from pre-Civil War America, where they were much closer to the founding principles. Those principles were the ones being discussed and demonstrated in the story.
    I know I’m late to this post, but I appreciate you taking the time to write it.


    • If you write thrillers, their core principles are bigger-than-life heroes, doing the impossible, and overwhelming patriotism. These main characters love their country and its flaws. Was it Churchill who said Democracy was a horrible form of government, except all the others were worse (I’ve butchered it, I know).

      You have me curious about your book, Tarl. I’m going over to check on it.


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