1. cherryisdead
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    cherryisdead New Member

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    What is your process in researching settings?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by cherryisdead, Mar 31, 2013.

    What is your process in researching settings? For example, I'm obsessed with the 60's. Besides googling "60's culture" or finding books on the 60's, where else can/should I turn to? What do you do?
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    First research the aspects that will be crucial to your story. If part of your story takes place in a 60's disco, you research a 60's disco. If you have music playing you research music of the 60's. And so on. After that there may be some aspects you want to explore for your own pleasure.
     
  3. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    People... The sixties was only 50 years ago. How old are your grandparents? Try retirement homes? People in their seventies would have been young adults during the 60's. Most people would be pretty keen to chat.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i do more specific googling... in your case, for instance, i would not be that broad in my search, but would narrow it down to the various areas i needed info on... such as:

    1960s american [or british/whatever]teenagers clothing
    1960s american [or british/whatever] cars
    1960s US tract houses

    and so on... and i check both the regular google pages and google images... don't use wikipedia as your only source, since anyone can submit anything there and it's not to be taken as gospel... however, the references given below entries can be very helpful...
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you watch Mad Men -- they do an amazing job of capturing a lot of the feelings of the 60s. Their episode on the Kennedy assassination was one of the very best television treatments of a historical event I've ever seen.

    You're also lucky in that there are so many television shows from the sixties available to watch -- not that they reflect what the culture was actually like, but they reflect what people *wanted* it to be like. There was a lot of scientific optimism, and a lot of angst about the Soviet Union.

    Also, there does exist footage of the news broadcasts from that time. Those could be very interesting to watch, especially for the then-current perspective on historical events (i.e. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movements, space program, etc.)
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Having grown up in the sixties, I would google. read books and watch movies from the time to jog and supplement my memory, and perhaps reminisce with old friends.

    If I anted to research the forties, I would see out people who are old enough to remember those years, in addition tp the other things,

    So much for time. For place, I would visit in person if at all possible. There is no substitute for personal presence. However, because my preferred genre is science fiction, I am much more limited is research resources, especially in finding people who have been to such places. Fortunately, my readers are equally limited.
     
  7. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    If you can find photos of the places you are going to include in the your story that would be great. Also, I would, as Cog said, find people who were there and talk to them about it. When I talked to people about the 40's I was taken back at how much of it was the same as today...yet at the same time how much was different than today. Then while reading novels written in the 40's the subtle nuance of language and the confines of culture became much clearer.
     
  8. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    TV shows. Dick Van Dyke, Ed Sullivan, Smothers Brothers, That Was The Week That Was, I Dream of Jeannie, Perry Como, Dean Martin...
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    All of the above were either comedies or variety shows, a very narrow and mostly saccharine view of American culture. The thing is, there was no single "American culture", so single American "world view", no single American ethic. For that matter, there was no single era, "the sixties". The period of 1960-63 was very different from 1964-66, and they were both very different from 1967-69.
     
  10. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I think watching 60's movies would help you as well, because not only would it give you information, but it would give you a visual about what that world actually looked like. Be careful though, some movies are not accurate and present things incorrectly just for visual pleasure.

    But yes I would recommend movies, you can get a lot of ideas flowing from them too. Maybe if you listen to 60's music as well, your imagination can create so many images. Just immerse yourself entirely in 60's stuff. It will really get your juices flowing I think.
     
  11. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Just as an indication of what I mean about the three different segments of "the sixties", in music, compare:

    1962 - "The Loco-Motion" - Little Eva; 1963 - "Surfin' Bird" - The Trashmen
    1965 - "Eve of Destruction" - Barry McGuire; 1966 - "Ballad of the Green Berets" - Barry Saddler
    1968 - "Fortunate Son" - Creedence Clearwater Revival; 1969 - "Dazed and Confused" - Led Zeppelin
     
  12. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I start out with wikipedia to get a general idea and then further go on to the history books. Watching TV shows during that period really help with the language, the fashion and the lifestyle.

    I do believe 60s were considered as the chemical age. Especially after WW2 going into the Cold War, many people had stock piles of supplies, shelters, Uranium Detectors and my favorite UV sun synthesizers. It was also a time where you had the stereotypical house wife and working father.

    My best advice is to talk to somebody who grew up during that period. My mother would talk about it when we watch Pawn Stars and the guests bring in 60s-70s items. Oh god she would talk about when they had the Bomb drills, people wearing reflective hazmat suits and the stock piles of food in their basements.

    Not to mention when Asbestos was considered Safe
     

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