Pop Culture to Make Your Setting “Pop”

By Anne Garboczi Evans

Pop culture, according to the dictionary, is current trends, fads, and what’s “hot and new.” I’d like to hazard a guess that I’m not the only writer out there who’s not exactly an expert on pop culture. Red_Pink_Orange_rainbow_toesocks

Remember toe socks?

 I mean, I’m sure there are some writers who were “jocks” in school, spend hours pouring over the trendiest new fashions, and wouldn’t dream of driving anything but the latest model convertible. But then again, when would people busy chasing the latest trends have time to write?

I think a lot of us writers were the kid that absentmindedly pulled out clothes that didn’t match because our nose was buried so deeply in a book that we didn’t notice. Accordingly, most heroes and heroines of fiction are your odd-man out. Whether it’s Disney’s Belle who always has her “nose in a book” and couldn’t care less about the town “jock”, Gaston, or Jo March from Little Women who follows the beat of a different drummer, protagonists are rarely “normal.” The thing is, no matter how disinterested in fads a hero is, to give your book a “real” feel sometimes you need pop culture references. Nothing makes a novel’s description authentic like including the latest fads of that location and era, even if it’s your villain wearing the toe socks rather than your heroine.

Sound good? The only catch is, to put the latest pop culture in your book, you have to actually study up on it. So fish out that celebrity gossip magazine you threw in the trash and start studying up on expensive European cars.

Or you could get around all this work by just writing historical fiction. Because somehow researching 1880s corset styles is a whole lot more intriguing than paging through Miley Cyrus’s latest debacle. (Or maybe that’s just me. ;))

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via comments.

The setting: A rural Alabama secondhand store in the spring of 2015. List some pop culture references the main characters might mention or think about while there.

2 thoughts on “Pop Culture to Make Your Setting “Pop”

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