Monday 9 April 2012

Historical Time Periods: Which Do You Prefer?

Over the years I've read novels that have ranged from Roman to Medieval, and on to Victorian times- I've enjoyed some more than others.

In college I studied Ancient History for O'level and when I moved on to A'level History I was starting in the 18thC, and I really couldn't get on with it.

I enjoyed the Victorian section of the course, with all the political change, but the 18thC was my downfall...

So perhaps it wasn't so surprising when my first novel was set in the early Victorian period when a lot of advancements began to take place- the continuing decline of the old horse-drawn coach services and the emergence of railways.

(No it didn't get finished, it only got to 40,000 words. Mainly because I realised there was a big chunk of story that had emerged during the writing, and it had completely changed emphasis- there was a romance developing against the story background which hadn't been intentional.

With that realisation there was the need to change the time period to fit the romance plot.
And I didn't have the knowledge and experience then to know I should just keep going and sort it out later...One day I might get back to sorting it out...)

I like reading novels set in the Regency, but I don't think I could write one. But if you want a source of information then Social Customs During the Regency on the blog for Jane Austen's World, has a lot of links under the numerous topics- too many to list here, and wide ranging.

It was actually my Dorset novel that started to get in the way of that first one, and it hastened the 'put it in a box and move on' moment.

Originally my Dorset novel was going to have a smuggling background, but again the facts and circumstances of the time period interfered- and for certain elements that I needed for my plot, a slightly earlier setting than I'd originally anticipated was essential.

It was during my research for that time span that I finally started to grasp the 18th C.
If I'd been able to approach the 18thC in this way back when I was doing my A'level, I might have got  the 1700's when I needed it...


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I studied history as part of my degrees so I covered lots of periods in the whole of Europe. My favourites are late medieval/Renaissance, Georgian/Regency and Victorian. And I'm aiming to write at least one novel in each of those periods. Have only managed the Regency so far but I felt comfortable writing Dangerous Deceit.

Carolb said...

Those choices certainly give plenty of scope for future novels, Rosemary.

I always associate Renaissance with intrigue- not sure why...

Maxi said...

I love the Regency period, being a Jane Austen fan but the incredible change that came in Victorian times also makes that time very intriguing and interesting. And of course, reading Agatha Christie is always entertaining for me, as I find the '30s a great time to read about.