My Incorporeum stories weave together the lives of characters in very disparate time periods. There’s always a biblical one, and several others. Sometimes, I’m familiar with the other eras, like 1980’s Wyoming (The Remorse of the Incorporeum) or the deck of the Titanic (The Immersion of the Incorporeum.) In some stories, I focus very much on the character and only vaguely describe their setting. In all stories, there’s a future setting that I can make whatever I want it to be.
For the story I’m working on now, one of the eras is 1960’s USA. As I began writing, I realized that I wasn’t as familiar with the time as I thought I was. I identify the word ‘hippie’ with the decade, but the term didn’t come into use until the mid sixties. I had to come up with slang and pay attention to the important historical events that happened, not to mention the birth of Star Trek.
I browsed around for a show on Netflix that was set in the 1960’s, and came up with Mad Men. Excellent choice. Shortly after finding it, I came down with a bad cold and I made through the first four seasons in less than a week as I lay in bed with my tablet.
The show does an excellent job of showcasing the differences between the sixties and today. Yes, everyone smoked. When a mom sees her child dressing up by putting a plastic bag over her head, she doesn’t freak out about safety. A man yells at his wife and she stomps off, but when he yells ‘You come back here!’ she obediently does. The men have sex with as many women as they want, while the women are expected to remain faithful.
One could argue that last one isn’t unique to the sixties, but I digress.
Getting it right is hard. Although some anachronisms would only be noticed by an expert, others can take a reader right out of the story. If I have my 1960’s character driving a car that didn’t come out until 1975, they might wonder whether it’s a mistake or a clue that it is an alternate timeline. (It’s not.)
One reason I love writing Science Fiction is that I get to make up all the details myself. No one can say “No! Your character would never use a salad fork to eat their meat!” because I define my own rules. As long as I remain true and consistent within the universe I’ve created, I can write whatever I want.
Now I have a horrible urge to write Steampunk alternate universe fanfic for Downton Abbey…
Oh yeah. The ROW80 writing update:
Better than last week, although I’m still getting over my cold. I’ve added at least 1k on about 4/7 days since the last update. The other days I was either feeling miserable, or having trouble getting the words out. I’ve decided it’s OK for me to skip around in this story, as long as something gets written. Tonight, I wasted about an hour mocking up a cover for the WIP. I love it (It’s based on the fractal above) but I can’t share it because I don’t have the artist’s permission to do derivative work.
How’s your week going? Any fun time-wasting activities?