Good things to consider when you are writing anything historical (or futuristic, depending on your society). Sandra’s post outlines some details of living in the past that many of of don’t consider (and some of us don’t want to consider)… Just remember this when you’re drooling over Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler… and imagining her after the ride from Rivendell covered in trail dust and horsesweat, and him covered in four day old orc blood.

Murders and Mysteries

Today I’ve got my friend Sandra Sookoo back for a visit. As you can see from the title she’s talking about clothes-the difference between now and 1863.

Though I love writing stories set in historical time lines, there are a few things that make such a venture difficult—namely the clothes.

Imagine your daily routine now: wake up to the alarm, stumble out of bed and into a nice, warm shower, blow dry your hair, put on makeup, get dressed in barely-there panties, a bra, some sort of shirt and pants then slide your feet into some sort of shoes. That’s it.

Now imagine yourself living back during the Civil War era, circa 1863. You wake up to no alarm. There were no electronic devices—or electricity. Most likely there are chickens around, roosters too that herald the dawn. No shower either, though running water was around in some parts more advanced…

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4 responses to “

  1. Eau de Orc….a real man’s Old Spice, maybe? : )


    • When I was younger and didn’t know the difference in French pronunciation from Northern New York hick, Eau of course became Eww. Sounds like it fits just right here. 😉


  2. I don’t even write fiction yet I find social history details fascinating. In one of the shows I am in I will wear a corset as was worn in the early 19th century : the costumer is fantastic and created one specifically for me and all the details…

    Clothing made us walk differently, eat differently, choose different habits. A very important detail.

    Thank you for the food for thought!


    • You may not write fiction, Julie, but you often live it in the theatre. Costuming and design always fascinated me, and I was hopeless on a stage. I can only imagine how it might draw someone in who has to immerse him-/herself into the mind and persona of another human being. And as you say, the clothing affected every part of our lives. Though which made which? Are we defined by our fashions? Or do we define our fashion? And where does architecture and so many other aspects of civilization come into play? World-building for good fiction, whether it’s not the level of land mass (the needs of a coastal society are going to be very different than those of a land-bound people) to the types of animals that have evolved on that land (there is a reason why the ancestors of horses and elephants died off in the Americas) and how that would affect the development of the people on that land mass as well (food supply, transportation, clothing as well as myths and legends).

      Ooh… One of my passions. World-building!

      If you can, post pictures on your blog of yourself in costume. It sounds delightful!