Writer’s Journal: Nostalgia

Being a ‘90s baby, I’m no stranger to nostalgia. Some say that while other generations experience nostalgic moments, those that grew up in the 1990s-2000s went through such a technological change that within a few years, the technology we once saw as amazing became archaic. I believe this is why we’re seeing so many retellings of the same stories through movies, tv shows, and books. And we aren’t sticking to the small sector of our childhoods. We’ve gone back to previous decades and restored some of those stories for ourselves and our parents. Now, we face an overwhelming sense of should we have revived that? Or let the memory remain pure.

Nostalgia and Writing:

One of most well-known books that uses nostalgia as the main plot device is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Ernest Cline set Ready Player One in 2045, but everyone who uses the online virtual system knows everything about the 1980s. There are new games, but the purists of the OASIS system only stick to the games from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Ernest Cline used nostalgia to great effect in the novel and I even connected with some characters mentioned, like the Iron Giant, which came out in 1999. Then it came to the film adaptation, and they brought in more characters from games in the 2000s and 2010s. Some had issues with this, and while I appreciated it, I felt like it changed the tone between novel and film. But this brings us to the next part of our conversation.

Translating Nostalgia for Current Generations:

You’ve probably seen the ads for Fortnite or other video games bringing in characters (skins I think they’re calling them) from the shows and video games older generations grew up with. While there’s a side of us that wants to call out the gimmick as something bad, really I think it changes how we remember our favorite characters. If we would have had games like Fortnite when we were kids and they came out with Ash Ketchum or Master Chief, we’d have been ecstatic. So is the translation of nostalgia for current generations selling out?

I don’t think so. As creatives, it’s up to us to build or rebuild worlds how we want. While the opinion of others say otherwise, I think that if we remain true to ourselves and our creative process; we build the future of Nostalgia. There are many of us still stuck on writing the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings that we forget that we’re creating a new definition of nostalgia. And in reality, if someone attempted to release those books now compared to the past, they might not work with this generation of readers. The youngest generations of readers look at things differently, and especially with different technology.


While nostalgia is a magical experience, we can’t let ourselves get trapped in the past. We can use our nostalgia much like Ernest Cline, but make it our own. Current and future generations may not always understand our own nostalgia, but your books may become the fictional worlds they return to when they have kids or are watching their best friends have kids. Share your nostalgic memories with the younger generations, but don’t be surprised if they don’t understand at first. Building your nostalgia took a couple of decades, so take the time to create stories for the decades to come.

Thank you for reading and keep writing as the authors of tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.