The Use of Traditions in your Writing

noun: tradition
  1. the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.

    “every shade of color is fixed by tradition and governed by religious laws”

    synonyms: historical convention, unwritten law, mores;

    oral history, lore, folklore

    “during a maiden speech, by tradition, everyone keeps absolutely silent”

    • a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on in this way.
      plural noun: traditions

      “Japan’s unique cultural traditions”

      synonyms: custon, practice, convention, ritual, observance, way, useage, habit, institution; 

      formal praxis

      “an age-old tradition”

    • an artistic or literary method or style established by an artist, writer, or movement, and subsequently followed by others.

      “visionary works in the tradition of William Blake”

  2. Theology
    a doctrine believed to have divine authority though not in the scriptures, in particular.
    • (in Christianity) doctrine not explicit in the Bible but held to derive from the oral teaching of Jesus and the Apostles.
    • (in Judaism) an ordinance of the oral law not in the Torah but held to have been given by God to Moses.
    • (in Islam) a saying or act ascribed to the Prophet but not recorded in the Koran.
There are many traditions throughout the world. Christmas is a hugely western tradition, rooted in the birth of Jesus. However, many other traditions having nothing to do with the birth of Jesus have made their way into the western holidays. There is a segment of society that believes this is a bad thing. There is a segment that believes it’s a good thing. And then there is a segment of society that doesn’t really care either way. They just want to either avoid the whole thing or embrace the whole thing. 
Tradition helps us with our writing in many ways, but one important way is that because of tradition – within our own culture – we can rely upon our readers simply understanding it without much of an explanation. The readers live the same thing as the writer is living through tradition. Christmas traditions, such as a child’s first visit to Santa Claus, does not really require much of an explanation to the reader. If your reader doesn’t understand what this is, then you are probably writing for the wrong demographic. 
While writing your manuscript, use traditions to help you organize your thoughts and your story lines. Use them to give framework for your scenes and substance to your characters. Use them to guide the reader into familiar territory. Use them to create a bond between you and your reader – it’s a simple understanding between you …”Yes, I get the picture of this little boy’s first visit to Santa Claus.” It helps to build trust with your reader when you both share common ground. 
Happy Manuscripting!

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