I was asked a question this week about whether putting the year in a timeline was a good idea. And at the time I was asked that question, I happened to be critiquing a book that did just that. The coincidence reminded me of the forum page, and I thought this might be a good subject for some discussion.
The experts recommend that we don't date our stories. That we leave them more timeless. We want the reader to feel as though our story could be taking place right then (at the time their are reading it), whether they are reading it today or twenty years from now, allowing them to feel more a part of the story, almost as if they could step right inside.
But if you think about it, with the way the world is changing so rapidly, I'm pretty sure that if you are writing contemporary anything, something in your story will give away the basic timeframe in which it was written.
That all said, in many cases, the year could, and probably is, playing a significant role in your story if you've chosen to stick it in there. I think it depends largely on your genre and your particular story. For instance, if you're writing historical-fiction, fantasy, or sci-fi, adding the year can actually help to make the unreal feel more realistic.
So, how do you decide what's the better choice for your story? And what do you think?