One Writer’s Journey

March 2, 2016

Writing the Historic Mystery: When To Set Your Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:57 am
Tags: , ,

historic mysteryI’ve been doing some reading on writing historic mysteries.  The first discussion that I came across surprised me —  Is Your Time Period Truly Historic?

A group of historic mystery writers had come to some sort of consensus that unless the setting is 50 years in the past when the book is published, it is not historic fiction.  Me being me, I had a bit of a panic and did a wee bit of math beginning with the year my story begins.  1975 + 50 = 2025.

According to these writers, my book will not be historic fiction.  I still haven’t decided if I think this is a problem or not.  I want it set in the Cold War but I need the Vietnam War to be in the recent past.  Of course, I don’t have a draft completed.  Heck, I’m still researching.  I don’t technically have a draft started.  I’ve decided that at least for now, I will ignore this potential problem.

The other interesting (ie troubling) discussion was when to set your story. In other words, what time periods are popular.  The hands down favorites were Edwardian and Victorian England.  There was also a nod, although much less enthusiastic, for the Roaring 20s.  Of course, if you pick one of these time periods, it is also recommended that you dodge the specific years in use by other authors if at all possible.

Again, I seem to have a bit of a problem.  Not only have a committed the somewhat grand faux pas of not basing my story in England, I have failed to select one of the favored time periods.

The problem is that I don’t think my story would work somewhen else.  I have to add that I also think my time will help readers connect to the story since I will be dealing with racial tension and war veterans.

Things to consider as I continue to mull over my story…



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