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Friday, October 20, 2017

Past, Present or Future Which Are You?


Thank you, Rhobin, for choosing questions for our monthly group blog that are thought provoking. I’ll be interested in seeing what the other authors have to say about these questions. In what time period do you prefer to set your stories – past, present, or future? What are the problems and advantages of that choice? Would you like to change?
I set my stories in the present. The advantage of that is I am familiar with the present. I thought about historical but it would take so much research to learn and be familiar with a specific time frame; the dress, the food, mannerisms, transportation, living accommodations, speech, etc. In the present time I’m familiar with most things and if I need more details about a police activity, or vehicle, whatever, there’s usually someone I can email and talk to. In my Hawkins’ ranch series I had questions about a day in a rancher’s life and specifically about calving season. I posted on line and got about five responses. I guess a problem could be that readers are also informed about the present and can catch you if you make an error. But then a reader of historical is probably informed on that time period. For contemporary, an example was a book where the writer referred to the Empress Hotel in Vancouver, BC. The Empress is in Victoria. It threw me off and I never finished reading the book.

I’ve considered changing. I thought about Steam punk when it came out. And I have considered doing an 18th century romantic suspense but the research for a first book would be overwhelming. And I really like contemporary.
   Off to check out what other members write. Join me.

14 comments:

  1. Beverley, I know what you mean about incorrect details spoiling a book. I once started reading a book set in Queensland, Australia, in which local Aborigines featured. The author had absolutely no idea about Aboriginal culture, and must have got his information about locale from a tourist advertisement.
    I didn't think much of it.
    :)

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    1. That made me chuckle. I hadn't thought about research from tourist brochures. But yes, that misinformation would pull me out of the book.

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  2. Contemporary is a very popular genre. If that is what interests you, that is what you should write. My muse is interested in both. Some I'm more successful with than others. :)

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    1. Sounds like you've got a great muse. Good luck with both.

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  3. Writing in the era you most enjoy is a good guideline, Beverley, and like you say, even contemporary needs some research. Enjoyed your post.

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    1. Thanks Rhobin and I think you nailed it - writing in the era you most enjoy - whatever it is.

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  4. Details are important, whether you write historical or contemporary, and you're right, a reader will zero in on his/her subject matter expertise!

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  5. Like you, I find it easier to write in the present because all of the nuances of living in today's world are so familiar to me. But my biggest challenge there is when I include teen age or young adult characters who speak a lingo that I don't. I end up having to consult grandkids or the young couple down the street to ask what words they'd use for this or that. Then there's the constant loss of our cherished rules of grammar and punctuation perpetrated by texting.

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    1. Those are great points, Skye. I admit the teen and YA are a challenge and things do change more rapidly for the younger generation - but I'm guessing the younger generation of the historical writers could also be a challenge.

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  6. Your enthusiasm for the present shines through Beverley. what more can a reader ask? anne

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  7. Hi Beverley,I understand how you couldn't finish a book because you'd spotted an error. You start to wonder what else could be incorrect in the story and you lost trust in the writing. Contemporary fiction needs a lot of research, too. I enjoyed your post. Another great topic!

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  8. Hi Beverley, I get how spotting errors can draw you out of the story. It's a pet peeve of mine and because of that I try really hard to get my own facts right. If I can't verify them, I don't use them.

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