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 backbones of real science, which can take some research. For instance, I once had to look up how to bioform 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' post 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  

13 comments:

  1. Rhobin, interesting how parallel our experiences are. Identifying speculative fiction as the fairytales of modern times is spot on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You should write more in that period. You'll just have to wait and see what your muse wants. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I posted on your blog about it as we both have historical stories set in early French history! Yeah. The muse is driving me, but also driving me to several other ideas at the same time. Wish she'd make up her mind.

      Delete
  3. I've never tried writing in the future. But it doesn't matter which time period, a writer will need to do research. We can't get away without it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think readers ever consider all the research even fiction writing takes.

      Delete
  4. I love the idea of sci fi being folklore set in the future. I've never thought of it in that way, but now I can really see the parallels in a lot of sci fi I've read or watched. It's made me more confident to have a go at writing my own.
    Thanks for another great topic!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are right! Writing about any period required research. Most of us enjoy that part of writing. I wrote a science fiction short story once, and that was fun, but I've never thought of a novel. This was a great topic and reading everyone's post has been a real treat. Thanks,Rhobin!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice post, Robin. You make me want to try some sci-fi or fantasy with a future setting. I do find contemporary settings also involve a lot of research, but it is generally readily available through the internet!

    ReplyDelete
  7. While it's true contemporary doesn't require a lot of research to know the times, but the places and careers certainly do. And that research can be a lot of fun. I especially like to go to places I want to set my book, talk to locals, hear the gossip, the folklore and secrets of the city/town etc. That's like a perk of writing for me. I have an excuse to visit different places.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Rhobin, I do so agree with your belief we should keep on using the research. Each new novel adds another layer. anne stenhouse

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rhobin, you make the point that I think most writers agree, no matter what you write it takes research. Some of us find one era easier to research than others. You said 'I feel like I just have to write more in that period. Why waste all that work?' So I wish you good luck on your next historical.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't think good research ever goes to waste - there are always nuggets of information that either stay with you and prompt another book or wiggle their way into a story somewhere. I am getting to the point now that I can resist 'going down the rabbit hole' if a particular line of research I'm following takes me too far from my point of origin.

    ReplyDelete