Since I’m working on a story that is skirting the line of being in the Historical Fiction genre, I’ve decided to talk about things to think about when your setting and characters belong to an era that’s not your own (like, right now, in the present). Research is very important when writing about another time period. It’s the little details that should bring the past to life. So, here’s a list of questions/suggestions that may help you dig deeper into a part of history your interested in.
- Think about historical events from the exact year you’re writing about and the years prior. What event shaped your setting? What would the timeline look like?
- Political leaders at the time? Give some political and social context of the period.
- What kind of clothing did people wear? Was there a change in fashion? Was there some kind of dress code?
- Were there any technological and medical advances at the time? What inventions were newly discovered/created?
- Think about notable people of the time? Famous artists and actresses? Revolutionaries and musicians. Sport heroes and political villains?
- Were there terms and slang used back then that we don’t really use today?
I know it sounds like a lot, we all want to strive for accuracy, especially when building a story in a time we have not lived in ourselves. Don’t sweat the small details (I’m still learning how to that myself). If you gotta fudge something, fudge something. Find reliable references books and primary sources from the time period you’re interested in writing about. Even watching movies and looking at artwork from another time in history can help you become familiar. I especially love looking at old photographs.
Anything I missed? (I probably did, I was just thinking off the top of my head here). Let me know in the comments. I also want to know about your stories and when they take place.
Write With Heart,