Clues You Can No Longer Use

One of the games I like to play when watching old movies or TV shows is pointing out what could no longer be used. Old mysteries are particularly good for that, as some of the clues rely on calls from public telephone booths, family scandals that could never be kept secret in the age of social media, or bending regulations in a worthy cause and getting away with it.

The game has value for those who write historical fiction, since so much of what we take for granted is barely older than our grandparents if not ourselves. I need constant reminders that huge amounts of human exploration was done on water, not on foot. I think of the westward expansion of the United States and imagine covered wagons, but small ships running down the rivers were equally if not more important.

I’m looking at the tools or supplies I thought would last forever (like the checkbook and bottle opener above) and laying odds on how soon they will disappear. Then I’ll have to go through my unfinished stories and cut those references before I can even think about writing the ending – unless I want to switch genres from sci fi to historical romance!

Luck and wisdom!