I've noticed in my reading that many stories glamorize street life. They tend to shade over the bad parts somewhat and often I'm left feeling the characters are not authentic. I recall one book in particular that I was so shocked when the author brought up the character's past as having grown up on the streets, I wondered why I was surprised. It made me realize that there was nothing about this character that said they had led a street life. If anything, they were too polished and refined for that kind of history. It wasn't believeable and every time it was brought up again I was yanked from the world of the book and reminded I was only reading. It was almost as if the character's history was an after thought and a poor one at that.
A couple very interesting articles about the realities of street life and the mistakes writers often make when writing about life on the street that I was introduced to over at The Midnight Hour. I really enjoy reading their posts on writing.
The first article deals more on what authors miss about weapons and those trained with them and the second gives some of the finer details about how street life changes a person and the way they interact with the world.
This should be required reading for any author that wants a street smart character. As writers we always want the reader to believe the reality we give them, but if we haven't actually ever lived on the street or even known someone who has, this can be a very difficult thing to recreate. Hopefully, Kaigou's writing will help someone out there be a little more believable when they write about street life and weapons.
There's really very little about street life that's romantic, but I don't see writers not using it as a background. Sometimes it's what really works for the story, but it can ruin a story if not done well.