Remember The 80s? Placing Scenes in History in My Most Recent Novel

by | Mar 21, 2022 | Articles | 0 comments

Remember the 80s? How about the 70s, or even the 60s?

Of course, I know the old expression: if you remember the 60s, you weren’t there. But in my house, it was different.

I was born in the 60s, but in my house it was pretty much like the 50s. No discussion of the war in Vietnam, hippies, the Love generation… If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, that was my house: a cloud of cigarette smoke, but otherwise very much like Leave It To Beaver.

So being born in the 60s meant it was still the 50s in some sense. That led to growing up in the 70s, which thus felt like the 60s.

 

And Then Came the 80s

By the time we hit the 80s, the 70s officially kicked in. Remaining about a decade behind the real world, we experienced everything a little bit late…not only the cultural changes, but also the styles.

If you lived where I grew up, Bristol, Connecticut, that meant you saw plenty of 1970s cars around well into the 1980s. Like the car in the picture in today’s post. That’s a Dodge Charger, circa 1970. In 1983, you still saw plenty of cars like these all around town.

I’ve thought about this kind of thing a lot lately. The reason: revisiting Whizzers, my most recent novel, which has a scene or two that happen in the 20th century.

Some of those scenes take place before I was born. But a few, like the one that led me to the car photo above, take place during a time when I was already alive, though not necessarily an adult.

 

I Was There

The 1983 scene I allude to above involves me directly…or at least, a fictionalized version of me. I didn’t have to do much research for this time frame, because I lived through itthough I understand some of my younger readers might have to ask around, or do a little reading, to get there.

My memories of the late 70s and early 80s feel like pure 70s: The Rockford Files, Busch beer, and something we used to call herb. If you were there, you probably understood that whole sentence. It’s interesting jumping back to those times when I was a young man. Things looked different, felt different. Things were different.

What about you? Were you part of that generation, or a little younger? Or older? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

book

Who Gives A Damn About Your Book?

Back in April, I wrote a blog post called What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. Since I have those six years of experience, I figured I’d list six things I’d learned—not necessarily one per year, but one for each year. The response was...

The Marketing Thing Vs. The Working Thing

Last week, I took a vacation with my lovely wife, and missed doing a blog post entirely. I see where WordPress has an option of writing and scheduling posts, but frankly, I was too busy doing that with my monthly newsletter. I figured I could ignore the blog for a...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
genre

Have You Ever Written In A New Genre?

When you don't normally write genre fiction, it can be difficult to talk to non-writer people about your work.I love the classics, and have always worked hard to create modern classics of my own. You could call them Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, or just...
serial

If You Don’t Write in a Serial Format, Good Luck With Amazon Classifications

This week’s topic is one near and dear to my grizzled, cynical old heart—adjusting to the nightmarish landscape of book classifications. Some writers have no problem with this stuff, and hey, more power to you. But as I wrote in What I’ve Learned In Six Years of...
door

The Open Door Of A New Year

Dawn another year, Open it aright; Thou shalt have no fear In its fading light. —Joseph Krauskopf   I read this quote in a meditation book a couple days ago and it kind of stuck with me. Not the exact wording, of course—I mean the overall spirit. After all, the...

How Authors Can Navigate Twitter

Way back in June 2016, I wrote a blog post about Facebook vs. Twitter. At the time, I had a whole six months of expertise as a guy running a business full-time, so no wonder I did such a great job! Well, okay, maybe I overstated my case. But the bottom line of that...
COVID-19

The Scary Weekend I Thought I Had COVID-19

Since March 2020, I’ve lived almost as though there was no such thing as a coronavirus vaccine. You might wonder why, as multiple vaccines have been available since earlier this year, some even before that. I’ll tell you why. My wife is an essential worker who...
author

Are Authors Typically Obsessive-Compulsive?

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in author blogs toward the confessional. After all, no one wants to read about your characters all the time, and God knows that readers don’t want to read about marketing. They want to know something about you. Happy to oblige. Although...
shoemaker

“Shoemaker, Stick to Thy Last!”

I always try to help my fellow indie authors by passing on my experiences. Among the most important, in my mind, is don’t be a jack of all trades, master of none. Find your niche, and stick with it. This might not be the greatest advice if you’re already a...
self-promotion

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...
MLK

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...
rails

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...
French

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
gratitude

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...
robot

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...