Bridging the Generation Gap in Contemporary Writing

Sunday Funday at KAZE with DJ Prymtime, Cincinnati, OH

People of a certain age may remember “dinner and dancing” differently than depicted in this video. But when writing, if you’re aiming to stay true to the present, it’s important to remember how things are not how they were.

This post also serves as a note because I was stunned as I watched my daughter’s Instagram story on Sunday night. Then almost immediately, I was transported back to my days of dancing into the early morning hours at the Paradise Garage in New York City. I might have snacked on the fresh fruit that lined the bar top. But a full plate and dining utensils while dancing? No Way! Although this video may resonate with Generation Z and Millennials, dinner and dancing in the last century were more of a formal affair.

Then it hit me!

When I write fiction, most of what I write comes from the memories of my distant past. And that would be fine if I were writing historical fiction, but does it cut as a contemporary writer?

I haven’t consulted a trade book acquisition editor lately. Still, I suspect, as a modern writer, we must pull our readers into a world they’re currently experiencing and craft a tale there.

I’m sure successful contemporary writers already know this, but honestly, it was an aha moment for me.

Especially when we writers are instructed to write what we know.

But if we choose the commercial path, it might be better to write what we’re experiencing and bridge it with our memories.

Correct?

The last novel I read was the award-winning horror fiction, The Changeling by Victor Lavalle, and I must admit he masterfully wrote in the present. But it’s an allegory, a hardcore fairy tale with a foundation that rests comfortably in the past.

So, I think I get it now.  Maybe it finally clicked for me.

What do you think?

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