Saturday, October 21, 2017

Setting and Time

All novels take place in time, at least as far as I've experienced. I've written in historical time, contemporary (which becomes historical the older the publication date becomes), and in the future time frames. Even if the exact time isn't mentioned, often other details give away this information. 

Which do I like best? Future, as I may have already mentioned in previous posts, I see science fiction as folklore placed in the future. Fairy tales and mythology gave readers the experience of completely imaginary characters and settings long before novels were invented, and I think science fiction (and fantasy) does the same. Like those ancient story forms, the story's setting is what makes it important, and this is probably true for each time frame. The problem with future time frames becomes having at least a backbone of real science, which can take some research. For instance, I once had to look up how to bio-form a planet and if it were even possible.

I thought contemporary wouldn't take much research but soon learned different places around the country and world, even around my home state, have different laws, different customs, different slang words, road systems, weather patterns, landscapes, etc. To get the setting to feel right to the reader, those details must be correct.

The historical I wrote took a lot of research. My own perspective on historical novels means what happens and the details of society must be accurate, which can mean volumes of research.

Each time frame takes research as details are important in creating a believable world setting, but as I've already said I have found historical requires the most research, so are my least favorite to do. However, since I've learned about one period, I feel like I just have to write more in that period. Why waste all that work?

Please read the following authors' posts on this same topic for an expanded view on the topic. Marie Laval  
Anne de Gruchy 
Skye Taylor 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Anne Stenhouse   
A.J. Maguire  
Judith Copek 
Victoria Chatham 
Beverley Bateman 
Heidi M. Thomas 
Marci Baun  
Helena Fairfax 
Diane Bator