The last 10 years

Today’s goal is to learn more about your setting with an eye towards things that specifically influence your story. The idea is that elements from the history you create today will be implemented in your novel and might help give it a better shape and you some more knowledge on the locale.

So grab a pen and paper and write about what’s happened in your chosen setting over the last ten years. Depending on your story, this setting could be as large as a world or as small as a single nobleman’s house. What’s important is that you find a character who was old enough to be fully aware and have knowledge of the world during the last ten years, and get them to explain the history to you in as much detail as possible.

If you’re writing in this world, write about the last ten years of your main character’s life. Focus on what events in their setting influenced and changed their lives and tie this piece into the history as much as possible. If you’re still not fully settled in your locale yet, today’s also a good day to research everything you can, because on Monday we’ll be talking about creating an outline and on Thursday it will be time to start your novel.

No matter which version of this exercise you do, write in as much detail as possible and make sure you write at least 1, 000 words. It’s good practice for Nanowrimo, should get you into the zone, and 1K is enough that you might even make it a little bit past ten years, giving your setting and thus your novel more depth.

If you get stuck, ask your characters questions. Be as general or specific as you need to be. Here are some sample questions:

  • Was there a war in your country in the last ten years?
  • Have there been any local natural disasters in the last ten years?
  • How were people’s attitudes different ten years ago?
  • What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened in this town/city/country in the last ten years?

Now get cracking–and please tell me a bit about what you’ve discovered in the comments below.