Monday, December 20, 2010

A Sense of Time and Place

Our book group read "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" last week. We all seemed to like it, but some members found the dialog distracted from the story and didn't ring true to their memories of time and place.

Our writing group listened to an excellent talk from Myrna Oakley yesterday. She told us how our story-telling plans should start with a location plus characters.

And my critique group read and critiqued my newly added sections from my novel, Divide by Zero, also yesterday. I was trying to create a better sense of the main character but the first question everyone asked was "Where and when is this set?"

Wherein lies my problem: Can anyone tell me if it's possible to write a successfully rootless novel? I know the local time and place of my story; I think I give a good enough feel for the world the characters inhabit. But I've not paid any attention to the larger world: Is this small town in England or America (or even Australia)? Are the events happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s? They're pre-cell-phones-and-internet, but that's about all I cared about.

Do you think I might get by with not telling the details, or must I decide? How do you deal with a story that's meant to be set anywhere, anywhen?

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