Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Writer's Time Travel

"...The 1940's is portrayed so vividly that the time and place become characters of their own. I could see the clothing, hear the music and feel the scratchy car upholstery..."

~ Romance Readers at Heart

When I sat down to write THE PASSENGER, of course I hadn't been to California in the 1940's but I knew this was both the time and place for the story.

I knew in order for me to bring my readers there, I had to find my way there too.

So I set a challenge for myself... I decided to transport myself there using whatever means available.

I read books on the decade. Browsed the antique stores for old copies of magazines. Visited the library of a local art college to look through Sears catalogs and Town and Country. Rented movies and watched documentaries.

I listened to the music. When I was writing and when I wasn't. In fact, the Andrews Sisters became a favorite of my daughter's when she was younger. What four year old in this decade knows all the words to the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy?

The research became an adventure and as fun for me as the writing!

I'd love to hear about your adventures - what do you do as a writer to prepare yourself for a story? As a reader what details transport you there?

Until next time...


Jill James said...

Joie, you are a great researcher. I haven't written anything yet not in current time, but if I do I'll remember this post. Listen to music of the era, read magazines, immerse yourself in the time period. Thanks.

Sheila Tenold said...

Hi Joie, great post! Research can take you so many places. The library and internet come to mind at first. But, these words from Goethe offer another view. “ …the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.”
I’ve discovered synchronicity while listening to the radio…a singer’s voice fits my hero to a tee, and his real wife has the same name as my heroine. Go figure! I suddenly meet a man with the same profession as my WIP hero and get in depth background. I’ve experienced these “coincidences” enough times to accept them for what they are, the serendipitous magic of commitment.

JACLYN said...

I'd love to hear about your adventures - what do you do as a writer to prepare yourself for a story? As a reader what details transport you there?

Hi. My first book came about while attending a RWA convention and a author exclaimed, “who wants to read about a H/H in their forties.”

I felt crushed as I had pages already written. It wasn’t until I was visiting Santa Barbara in CA. I fell in love with the area. We stayed a month while I did research on ranches and the breeding of Arabian horses.

My H/H are in their forties and AUTUMN LOVE came in first in a contest. It still needs work. I find you have to stick to your convictions regardless of what someone else might say.


morgan wyatt said...

It was so interesting reading about how you did your research. I am currently researching Cariboo gold rush. Ways I've researched is to check period newspapers for current news. I've researched ghost stories, slang and jokes of the time period. It is especially great to come across a diary that my described the hardships of frontier life.

Thanks for all your insights.

Mona Risk said...

Joie, I like writing about places I visited but I still do tons of research about the area and time as I write. I don't write any details that I am not sure about.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Joie,

I live where the 1849 gold rush happened so I can jump in my car and drive to where I am writing about, we have a fantastic museum and a lot of old timers who remember tales from their folks. I love visiting these places and talking to people and experiencing as much as possible.

As far as my Scottish hunks - one holiday in Scotland certainly added to that one.

I was born in the 40's and can remember a lot from when I was a kid - especially the brown car with the running board.... Yep, I am older than old. :)

Joanne said...

Hi Joie,
I research like crazy when I begin a new project. Sometimes I think I spend too much time researching, but details are important to the reader. When I read, I want to be transported to a different time and place.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Joie, I am sorry my blog posted so soon. Getting used to this new blog and posting correctly is still beyond my sensibilities. :(