And that got me thinking... thinking about something we all know is immensely true, but probably don't think about enough: time has a lot to do with setting and has a great influence on a story.
Where to set a story within the space of TIME?
There's so much choice! I could go from 'Ancient History' (let's say, 3000BC) to anywhere in the future (how about 3000AD, just to put a limit on it).
So, I did this:
A random number generator between -3000 and 3000. I ended up with the year 1796.
Curious, I think ventured over to Wikipedia to see what happened that year. Here are just a few...
April 12 – War of the First Coalition – Battle of Montenotte: Napoleon Bonaparte gains his first victory as an army commander.
May 14 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.
July 11 – The United States takes possession of Detroit from Great Britain under the terms of the Jay Treaty.
Obviously, being a Michigander, the Detroit thing stopped me in my tracks. I'm even more interested because it has a great underlying 'down with the monarchy' tone to it. Anyway, I then go to http://www.detroitmi.gov/ and learn about Detroit in the 1700s:
1768: King George grants McDougall ownership of Hog Island; cost: 194 pounds sterlingAll interesting things, but I'm still interested about the de-Anglicisation of Detroit. So I venture over to www.historydetroit.com and stumble across this: a proposed plan for Detroit after the fire of 1805. Now, start a story in Detroit on June 11, 1805, and I think you're definitely headed somewhere.
1771: Geographic survey establishes the island's size to be 704 acres
1773: Census: 200 farm animals; 5 people
1783: Treaty of Paris ends the Revolutionary War; Hog Island becomes American territory
1794: William Macomb purchase Hog Island from McDougall's heirs for 813 pounds sterling
Just a little picking around and you find something interesting; something that has a story to it.
Try it yourself!
At the very least, click the randomiser and find a year and see if you can find anything interesting, or if the date is in the future, what do you think will have changed from the world we know today?