Books don’t have the luxury of the visual effects that a television show or movie has. We can’t see a time period prop when watching a scene unfold and we can’t see the character’s clothes.
Of course, you don’t want to describe every single detail about what your characters are wearing or using throughout the whole novel.
That would be telling, not showing, not to mention unbelievably boring for your readers and could possibly make them want to throw your book across the room.
Oh, yes, people do that. They throw books across the room.
However, with that said, peppering in tidbits of information regarding props and attire, now that is a whole other story, and one that will surely keep them drawn into the time period and sucked in your novel.
Since it’s essential that the reader is enveloped into a time period of the past, then, of course, props and attire will play a role. You don’t want one of your characters listening to the radio in a book that is set before radios were invented. And you don’t want to have a female character in pants before it was socially accepted that women wear pants. Once again, this is where research comes out to play.
Do’s of Establishing Props and Attire
- DO pepper in details here and there to keep your reader in the time period
- DO use research and pictures to help you describe certain fashion trends
- DO make sure items your characters use were invented before your time period (i.e. kitchen appliances, beauty products, household appliances, etc.)
Don’ts of Props and Attire
- DON’T bog your story down with too many details.
- DON’T forget to make sure certain materials were used in the time period
Be sure to check out the other parts of this series:
Elements to Historical Fiction and Historical Romance
Rules for Historical Fiction and Historical Romance