Funny that I mentioned the 1950's there (well, not so funny because I kind of did it intentionally), as the decades are the subject of my post today. And by decades I mean the array of inspiration the last hundred years can provide, plotwise.
I may be thinking of this because my friends and I were the decades for Halloween. (Party, not trick-or-treat...as it was a Monday I had homework to do between 6 and 8 yesterday.) I was the 30's, and I got to shove my hair into a little gray cap and put on red lipstick. I kind of wanted to go for an outfit more representative of the time period--Hooverville-esque, maybe--but, honestly, the liptstick was too much fun.
I digress--kind of. The distinctive styles of the decades is actually a fair bit of inspiration, I think. Rattling off descriptions of modern-day clothing is boring. But slipping a few extra details about cloches or flapper dresses or zoot suits is actually a plus.
Moving past the ink-and-paper wardrobe, I think the social aspect of the different time periods would be (and have been) excellent plot fodder. Did you know that in the early 1900's all of a woman's property was turned over to her husband when she married? Even the rights to her kids? (Yes, we talked about this in history today.) That's a plot already set up and waiting to be explored again. Then there's the Great Depression, both World Wars, rock-n-roll vs. the view of women & family in the 50's, Woodstock, disco...tons of settings and characture vs. society plots made-2-order.
I'm not sure if my next story will be historical fiction or not, but it's definitely worth looking into. What time period would you write about?