When Time Periods Baffle You
© by Lydia Nolan
May 5, 2019
I have been working on the same novel for years, I won’t even tell you how many. Nonetheless, I have finished it years ago, but went on to edit it and this is where the length of time begins. This is my first novel and I have never had a course in novel writing or a mentor who would teach me how to write a novel. I just wrote it, and now I’ve been editing it for years.
What I wanted to share as I did in my Blogger site, is too technical here. This is my contemplative blog, more about what I am writing specifically, whereas the Blogger site is more about the technical components to writing, that is the Write Stuff.
But here, I just want to write about what I’m thinking specifically for my own particular work.
I am having a difficult time creating a period of time in my novel. It is supposed to be referring to incidences in the 60s, but it is in the 80s.
Last night I was watching Netflix and there were specials about Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer of the 70s, whose life did not expire from our horror of him until the 80s. And then it came to me: I never speak about the things going on in the backdrop of my novel. I don’t sense the time period in my novel.
I asked my husband if he thought I needed to mention the serial killers in that time period, being how the character in my novel is pursuing a serial killer unknown to my readers. He said “why? Don’t go messing up your whole story just to input some unrelated piece of information.”
“But,” I said, “it’s not just information, it’s the backdrop of my novel, and it speaks volumes of the significance of the worst time in our history for serial killers, thereby addressing the difficulties for detectives on finding these killers since forensics was sparse then. I think I’m right and I’m going to ignore my husband’s thought on it. But he was right about one thing: it is going to be really hard to tear apart pieces of my novel and plot to fit in morsels of the times, why? Read my other blog for technicalities… right: I did NOT create an outline before I began this novel, so it’s harder to find areas of its plot without knowing where to search. I hope you understand what I’m talking about, any writer worth their work knows what I’m talking about, I’m sure.
So … The 60s in my novel is the Viet Nam and Hippie era, the 80s, Glam rock, Aids and the worst of serial killers in our country, and NOW, the most unrest in our generations within political, religious and cultural chaos. Now, THAT is a challenge indeed. I guess I can ignore the NOW. But what makes it so hard is that NOW is not either of these time periods, so I have to research not one, but two periods of time that I should be familiar with, but I was culturally deprived due to religious ostracization. Oh, the joy and excitement of research and writing — really!