Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Consider Why You Are Setting The Story In A Particular Year

This is a small post today but I wanted to give you something, this Christmas day!

I am always amazed at the number of contemporary authors who are setting their stories in the 70's and the 80's. Yes, every now and them I see some in the 60's. With every one of these submissions, I always question why the author has made this move. As you read the story, there really isn't a reason to do so.

One author I spoke with told me she set the story in the early 80's because Google hadn't been created so it was hard for someone to find another person without using the Internet. This was only one small part of the story. The rest of it didn't involve anything from the 80's (I should note I am listening to Hall and Oates as I write this now.)

The setting of your story is one of those four foundation elements of a story (theme, character, setting and plot). For this reason, there needs to be a purpose for everything you do with your story and you cannot just place a story in a time period to be different. It must be an interactive element through the entire story.

Look, I am sure some of you had a great time in the 70's and the 80's, but do your characters need to relive you days of Disco, Parachute pants and Jordache Jeans?

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and enjoy the day!

1 comment:

  1. I agree the year shouldn't be arbitrary. But there might be certain advantages to a pre-Internet setting, especially if you want characters having a hard time keeping track of each other. As an example, I read the Bourne Identity (1980) and found it quaintly amusing how often the characters had to use pay phones. Hard to find a pay phone these days! At the moment, I'm working on one novel set in 1930s WV (just for a nostalgic, rustic, isolated feel), another in the 60s (because it's based on my childhood - OK, just gave away my age ;-) - but mostly I stay contemporary for the reasons you give. Oh, and Happy Holidays!