Imagine traveling back in time two hundred years, to the 1800’s, to the exact spot where you are sitting or standing now. What do you suppose you’d find? Who was here, and what were they doing? How did the landscape look different, or the same? What other living creatures may have been present? What plants grew? What water ran?
Write a passage of historical fiction that takes place in your current location, as Zoe Skaggs does here
. Perhaps you already have a sense of the history, or perhaps doing a little research will spark a new idea. Was the land contested, for example? If so, by whom? Or perhaps, in 1817, your sleepy seaside town was a bustling port. Or, on the contrary, the urban landscape of your home city was largely undeveloped and wild…
As you develop your passage, try using character and voice to create a sense of time, place, and atmosphere, as author Peter Carey does in the following example. His novel, True History of the Kelly Gang,
tells the story of Australia’s famous bushranger (or outlaw). This passage takes place in what is now the Alpine National Park in Victoria, Australia. The place names Carey mentions—The Great Divide, Crosscut Saw, Mount Speculation, Mount Buggery and Mount Despair—are all real places in present day Victoria.
The wind made the hunting very easy. I bagged a wallaby he never knew I were there. That night we ate roast meat and Harry did not complain about his bowels. Perhaps he missed my mother’s company I cannot say after we ate we was silent on our blankets looking out across the mighty Great Divide I never seen this country before it were like a fairy story landscape the clear and windy skies was filled with diamonds the jagged black outlines of the ranges were a panorama.
You're going to ride a horse across all that.
He laughed and he were right I knew nothing of what lay ahead.
See that there he pointed. That is called the Crosscut Saw and that one is Mount Speculation and yonder is Mount Buggery and that other is Mount Despair did you know that?
You will and you'll be sorry.