Setting by Christine Duncan’s post on the London riots hit close to home. Life these last few years has changed. Times are harder. And yet, do we include that in our books?
After 9-11, in this country, authors on DorothyL asked this very question. Many of them were in the middle of books, some set in NY and they didn’t know if they wanted to talk about what happened. Did they take any mention of the towers from the books? Should they move on, so to speak?
I think it is something that we all should grapple with on a regular basis with our books. Setting determines sub-genres-in a large part. And yet, in these times, with many struggling, including a dose of reality can really darken the book. Do we talk about the fact that many are without jobs? Do we include facts in a cozy that may be based in a real place that a neighborhood has changed, after many were foreclosed on? Or after, a riot for that matter? Can we show empty shop windows (many small businesses have failed in this recession) and older vehicles in parking lots (statistics show many of us are keeping our cars much longer.) and chalk it all up to the way things are now? Can we do it and keep it upbeat? You know, cozy?
It seems to me that many times, books and movies can reflect an era and yet not be about an era. I’ve seen a move toward black backgrounds in TV shows in shows that are S/F and mystery genre. I can’t help thinking that what we’re passing off as sophisticated today, may strike those in the future as just dark.
What are your thoughts? How real can we be without going too deep?


One response to “Setting by Christine Duncan

  1. Speaking in reference to the riots – though I may never actually write them, i think the actual experience – the feeing, the atmosphere, will make it in. I noticed, especially on TV, after 9.11 a lot of stories about that sort of experience – a mass event, ordinary heroes, dealing with the aftermath – that weren’t specifically about 9.11 but dealt with the feeling and experience


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