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Where's Your Head At?


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When I write, I want to nail the setting. My last story was set in 2018.

The way I put my head on, to find the grove, was to listen to songs current or a little before.

I looked at art and photography from the period.

I looked up an outline for the news of the year.

What movies were playing.

I immersed myself in the time.

Sure- it wasn't long ago but think how fast things changed.

There were no masks. iPhone 8 was the king of mobile beasts.

Sure, the muzak sucked raw balls but, you can't have everything.

What do you do to get into the right frame of mind, mood, headspace or whatever you want to call it.

I know I'm not the only crazed writer looking for that edge to make their writing POP.


Edited by jamessavik
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My current (first published) story is set in 19th century Russia. I read history, especially social history, to understand life at that time. I look at art and old photos, but more art, because photography was limited. I try to appreciate what the epoch was like and reflect it in my writing, in the description and in the style. I, if this is not pretentious, would like to feel the reader is transported into another world. Oddly perhaps, there is a certain parallel with Sci-fi and fantasy, the author creates a completely unknown universe. The big difference is with a historical story there is the actual reality, something which equally, maybe even more so, applies if you write the recent past which readers know.

The recent past, 2018 or any period from the 1950s onwards is challenging to create for the simple reason you have readers who know it intimately. I can make a mistake in 19th century Russia and I doubt many people will pick it up. Creating the atmosphere and plunging the reader into it is the success of the story, a part of the diversion from real life we seek when reading, characters, plot, and atmosphere.

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