Today’s post is part of series of posts encouraging you to write stories for minor holidays.
Writing and submitting a story for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or Christmas, means you’re up against a lot of competition in an editor’s inbox. Everyone writes for those holidays. But editors still love a timely, topical story. Why not take advantage of the myriad of minor holidays, to give your story an edge?
“Minor holidays”, in my mind, can also mean one-off anniversaries. I’m not saying there won’t be competition for these ones, but if you write your story far enough in advance you could ride the crest of the wave.
Write a story for one of 2019’s big anniversaries: the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death; the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth; the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings; the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.
- If these events don’t appeal to you, find more upcoming anniversaries here.
- You can write about the event itself, which might require a lot of research, or you could write a sort of fantasy version which might require a little less research and more pure imagination (think Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders).
- Another option for writing about big historical events is to write the story from the periphery. For example, the moon landing could be the backdrop to family drama that’s unfolding at the same time (In The Idiot’s Lantern, an episode of Doctor Who that combined the coronation of Elizabeth II, the advent of a new technology–television– and a simmering family drama, for a story that turned out to be deeper than it might have been otherwise).
- You could write about someone researching the event (sort of like Possession by A. S. Byatt)
- You could write an alternate history where the event has the same jumping-off point, but then the timeline diverges and everything that happens after that is new, like in The Man In The High Castle, which explores a world where Nazis won the Second World War; or The Calculating Stars in which a meteorite wipes out DC in 1952 and the space race takes a different (and more feminine) path.
- You could write the story of a minor player in the events, perhaps a servant or favorite apprentice of Da Vinci watching events around his death, or a wife or a politician waiting at home during the D-Day landings. For these, you’d need some period knowledge, but the drama is mostly in the human experience.
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