Hey Cats, Some Happening Tips For Writing Historic Fiction

Hey all you cool cats out there in blogland, can you dig the idea of a blogpost that goes back in time? Sure you can. …Late sixties maybe even seventies. I mean, I’m more into the seventies myself. Mini shirts, maxi dresses, peace signs as big as your head–they were the in thing when I was a chick in high school.

No, you don’t have to be smoking any grass to go back into the past. No time machine is necessary. Imagination’s where it’s happening. I mean words are, groovy, cool and hip, so get with it. Put your brain to use, dudes. Close your eyes and dream, cause dreaming’s outta sight!

Now you all know I’m into the historic fiction scene– writing and reading it—and part of writing historic fiction is using the lingo of the day to make the story as authentic as you can make it.  I mean, it’s got to be happening or your reader’s just not going to buy it. They won’t learn to trust you as an author and what that means in the long run is you won’t make any bread off your story. That’s just not groovy. A writer without sales is like, well, a writer without an audience.

So I was hunting around the Internet for some slang words from the sixties and seventies. You just never know when I might set a story in that time period. The lingo was far out back then, don’t you think?

So here are some cool tips when writing historic fiction that I hope you can dig.

1.The important thing to remember while writing historic fiction is to do your research. You don’t want to confuse readers. Having a  real-life character from the eighties show up in your 1970’s novel is just not cool or vice versa.

2.Make sure you set your novel at an exact time and place. Bitter, Sweet was set in 1948, not the 1940’s; Dalhousie, not Nova Scotia. All those cool cats out there reading your book want a specific date and place so don’t generalize.

3.Make sure you read lots of historic fiction to get in the groove. This goes for any genre you’re planning to write in. The more you read in that genre, the more familiar you will feel when writing it.

4.Keep in mind the dudes you’re writing about have attitudes, quirks, beliefs, and knowledge of the period they’re living in. Adding some of the lingo from that time can also take the reader back to that time and place.

5. Always remember characters in historic fiction are individuals with their own personal story, they’re not just part of historic events that took place in the past. A story might be set during wartime, but you need to make that character real with good and bad qualities, worries, unique problems and even secrets. Hey man, dude’s gotta have a secret or two , right?

So while I’m musing over some of the far out lingo from back in the cool seventies, I hope you’ll find these cool tips boss. And if you can think of any other cool tips, we could really dig you sharing them with the rest of us cats!

Leave a comment


  1. Right on! I’m down with that! (correct, cool, I agree)


  2. Right on, Laura … I get where your’re comin’ from, chick. It was our time and if you add the lingo of the time to our Brooklyn accents … I mean you gotta know we were the coolest … the goombas and the gum chewing-finger snappin’ coolest. The Boys from Flatbush was a cult fav from that time.

    Yo … you gotta’ get’em down to the groove 🙂


  3. Mel

     /  September 13, 2012

    If there’s anything I’ve learned growing up in our family, you gotta watch your lingo!!


  4. Far out, Post! I dig it! Now I’m getting all misty-eyed and nostalgic. Time for some Carpenters! It’s Yesterday once more……..


  5. You could just sit for hours and watch “Tha’ts 70’s Show” or whatever it was called. It was very funny. I bloomed in the eighties, so like I’m more into rat tails, big hair, Peter Pan boots and jeans that fit snug around the calf (I still love them). My sisters were the 70s girls with their bell-bottom pants, mini skirts and K. C. and the Sunshine Band. And David Cassidy was so hot even for a little kid like me. Perhaps you could watch episodes of the Patridge Family. We often associate a time period with the popular shows. The 80s were Dallas, B.J. and the Bear, Dukes of Hazards.

    I think Gilligan’s Island and the Beverly Hillbillies spanned the 60s, 70s and 80s even though they had only a few seasons. And don’t forget Get Smart, the Brady Bunch, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie.

    …I wonder where my Rubics Cube and yoyo are…


    • ah yes, all those wonderful tv shows. The Partridge family for sure. It’s strange because we can now get shows like the Beverly Hillbillies on dvd today. A few years back I picked my son up “Get Smart” because I knew he’d enjoy the humour. Dang it, they don’t make shows like that anymore!


  6. Laura, I hardly recognized you. LOL. You are one far out chick! I can’t remember anything from that era. Haha. Too long ago, I guess.


    • What a coincidence, Joylene, sometimes I don’t recognize myself, either. I’m so far out there I sometimes forget to come back..

      I wanted to mention I’ve been having a hard time leaving comments on your blog again. My connection’s been real far out this last while. I really enjoyed the post about your mother and have been trying to post a comment saying so several times. She sounded like such a remarkable woman. I know she would be very proud of the woman her daughter is. 🙂 I’ll keep reading and eventually I’ll be able to leave comments. It’s just frustrating.



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