One Writer’s Journey

January 26, 2012

Time: Part of Your Setting

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:58 am
Tags: ,

Setting isn't just where but when. Spring? Summer? Winter?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading online, mostly short stories.  And I’m seeing the same thing again and again.

No setting.

Maybe the author let’s me know that the characters are in Tennessee.  Or Kentucky.  Maybe the fact is even revealed that they are on a college campus, but one setting element is left out time and time again.

What is it?  The time.

I have no idea when these stories are set.

I suspect that the authors are doing this in an attempt to make them feel timeless, but it isn’t working.  The biggest reason that it isn’t working is that I’m consciously looking for a year because the stories feel dated.

Part of it is the characters’ names.  Gut instinct tells me that these are people I could have gone to school with because everyone has names like Dan, Chas, or Jane.  There’s not a Caitlyn or Jessica among them.  Incidentally?  I know college age people names Caitlyn and Jessica.

But I suspect its more than just the names.  In my mind, the boys have one slim legged jeans and polos.  The girls?  Enormous glasses, not the sleek, rectangular frames of today.

And there is nothing wrong with setting a story when you were a teen.  Just make sure that its clear that that is what you are doing.  You don’t want the editor or the reader to think that you’re doing a bad job setting a story in the here (Missouri) and now (2012).


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