Monday, June 10, 2013

Allie Pleiter on time travel

This weekend, you read all about my "contemporary romance" fictional self--the one who inhabits Gordon Falls, Illinois and hangs out with fire fighters.  Well, Doctor Who has company in his spiffy blue TARDIS because I get to time travel in my fictional form.  Today, you can meet my "historical romance" self--the one who inhabits South Carolina in World War One and nineteenth century Nebraska and hangs out with war heroes and prairie sheriffs.

I adore writing both.  I try to write at least one historical a year--sometimes two--along with my contemporary series.  The variety energizes me, shakes things up just enough to keep the creative juices flowing.

If you aspire to literary time travel like I do, here's three tips I've learned for flipping back and forth through the centuries.

1) Collect the verbs
Every era has splendid verbs that belong only to that time period.  No one "coshes" anyone over the head in 2010, but no one "ditches" a date in 1845.  Nouns are useful, but I find it's the verbs that really make a text sing.

2) Get the rhythm in your ears
While I find I can't read historicals while I write them (I'm too impressionable and then my voice starts to veer unnaturally toward whomever I am reading), I find it useful to watch movies set in that time period or listen to audiobooks.  It helps me get the sound of the language firmly fixed in my head.  The same is true for a contemporary--what movie sounds like my character?  Which audiobooks have the same sense of place I'm shooting for in my current work?

3) Music
This is a bit harder for historicals, but I often wade through on-line music services to find a soundtrack for my books.  It's instant atmosphere, and can take me to another place in my head no matter where my body happens to be.

Sure, I'd love a TARDIS--or any other time travel device that would allow me to dress up in a 19th century ball gown and still make it home for my daily latte.  But until The Doctor shows up at my door, I'll have to make do with the technology I've got.


  1. Excellent info. I just finished your latest Gordon Falls book and wondered how you keep it all straight. Love any time period you want to travel to!

  2. Excellent info. I just finished your latest Gordon Falls book and wondered how you keep it all straight. Love any time period you want to travel to!

  3. Interesting insight into what gives a story that historical feel. I don't read a lot of historicals, so I've never dissected why some feel more authentic than others. I do love to watch the BBC versions of Jane Austen's stories. :)

  4. Hey! My good friend Sandra Orchard forwarded this link to me, and I'm so happy she did! (Thank you, Sandra!) I love to read (and write!) historicals, and I do think you are right on! Where you do "find" these verbs? Any particular place, or is it just through your research, etc that you gather them?
    Amber Perry

  5. I liked this post. I have your contemporary books but not the LIH yet. I would love to go in the Tardis also.
    I understand what you mean about the nouns I watched a movie set in the 1800's and had to turn it off as they were using the F word which I am sure wasn't a part of life back then. I was so shocked. I dont like swearing at the best of times but this really annoyed me as it was so wrong for the era.
    I have actually read a book and thought thats not from that era then googled it and found yes it is. I do love a book that makes me want to find out for sure.


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