Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How True to Time Are Your Characters?

Writing in the past can present a few problems for your characters when you have a Colonial girl telling her "beau" that he's "cool". That's an extreme example, but credibility is everything. To that end, here are some resources (books) that might be helpful in keeping to the facts of your past setting. I'm not going to include names of authors (in most cases), because you can call them up online if necessary.

Everyday Life
  1. Everyday Life in Early America
  2. Everyday Life in Ancient Rome
  3. The Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860-1876
  4. Victorian America: Transformation in Everyday Life
  5. Everyday Life in the 1800's
  6. Everyday Life in the Wild West
  7. The American West
  8. Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's
  9. Writer's Guide to Everyday Life from Prohibition Through World War II
  10. The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840
Time-Life Books: This Fabulous Century
  1. Vol. 1: 1900-1910
  2. Vol. 2: 1910-1920
  3. Vol. 3: 1920-1930
  4. Vol. 4: 1930-1940
  5. Vol. 5: 1940-1950
  6. Vol. 6: 1950-1960
  7. Vol. 7: 1960-1970
American Heritage Books
  1. The American Revolution
  2. Making of the Nation, 1783-1860
  3. The Confident Years, 1865-1916
  4. 1920' s and 1930's
  5. The Middle Ages
  6. Pre-Columbian People of North America
  7. The Female Experience
  8. America's Immigrant Women
  9. America's Frontier History
  10. Zion in America: The Jewish Experience from Colonial Times to the Present
  11. The Oriental American
  12. The Italian American
  13. The Dutch in America
  14. South Slavic Immigration in America
  15. The Culture of the 20's
  1. America in the 40's (Reader's Digest book)
  2. Civil War and Reconstruction (American Heritage)
Speech and Language
  1. I Hear America Talking
  2. Slang Down the Ages (for those in the UK)
  1. Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (Victorian era)
  2. American Cookery (Amelia Simmons, 1796)
  3. The American Century Cookbook
  4. Food in History (Reay Tannahill)
So if you want your characters to act, speak, dress, and LIVE authentically, research the time period carefully. You don't want to meet Pocahontas in a speakeasy!


nlindabrit said...

Wow! That is a treasure trove of excellent resources you have generously shared!

K9friend said...

Those titles have me itching to flip through pages and browse content.

I love books that deal with past time periods--especially if photos/drawings are included!