In her latest column, Carol Kammen discusses the importance of a sense of place in fiction writing and proposes that historians can learn much from this approach. A sense of place and concrete details of life, Kammen says, are central to crafting realistic and individual narratives of history.
“Yet, we who write about our hometowns often write as if the events and times we describe happened just about anywhere. Our sense of history is acute, but rarely does it sing of the individuality or reality of place.”
Writing and sharing history requires more than just recitation of facts and events; details about the specifics of a place and its sights, sounds, and feelings can help bring the past to life.
“Fiction is shaped descriptively, using place to make the story real. But we, too, need to consider how to do the same thing.”