1. Kekec
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    Kekec Member

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    Ancient Setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Kekec, Oct 6, 2014.

    I've been wondering how would a novel or series of novels set in an ancient era fare. All fantasy I've read is set in a medieval setting. How would you feel about a fantasy with the culture of Rome and Greece? The map would be similar, though maybe not as blatant of a rip-off as Martin's is of Great Britain.

    Is "stealing" from history considered a form of plagiarism? I am very interested in all that's happened back then, but I want to put it in my own world so I'm unrestricted by factual events. There would be fantastical beings and heroic humans who are difficult to kill, but I'm inclined to eschew Greek and Roman mythology and put a light version of my own.

    So...any thoughts?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I don't believe it's possible to hold copyright claims on entire historical periods, otherwise historical fiction wouldn't even exist. So feel free to have your Roman/Greek hero use magic as he/she fights the evil demons of the underworld and things of that nature. :D And we've been borrowing from ancient mythology for centuries so you're fine there.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Using history in a fictional work, ancient or otherwise, is not stealing and it's not plagiarism. It's historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. James A. Michener, Leon Uris, Gore Vidal and Herman Wouk were among the best at it. Historical fiction can be the weaving of fictional stories with history to provide a better understanding of the history (e.g. Michener's The Covenant) or it can be the use of historical events as a backdrop for intensely personal stories (e.g. Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago). And sometimes the line between the two gets very blurred (e.g. Wouk's The Winds of War/War and Remembrance).
     
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  4. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    The only thing to watch out for is stealing from other texts.
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I second this sentiment. We are often moved to new territory in writing by other works we have read. You already mention Martin and have made note that you won't be so on the nose as to the real world analogue of your fictional location. So, if you are reading something else that is bringing this idea to mind, I would say put that away for a time so you can focus in this endeavor.
     
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  6. Kekec
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    Kekec Member

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    Well, I wasn't thinking of copying events verbatim from history books, but more on the lines of similarities to some recorded events.

    Also, if you saw names like Lucius Aurius Vegetius, a member of the senate, or Lykos Epimetheus, a renowned philosopher, and saw a unit described as a phalanx with their sarissas, moving like a hedgehog across the field, would you think to yourself, "Awww, maaaan, could you be more obvious?"
     
  7. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've attempted to write a thinly veiled version of the dynamics of the Greek city states. The project failed because I didn't enjoy learning about it, it was too confusing (I would've dumbed it down a bit), and I couldn't make sense of the dates.

    It's very difficult to actually plagarize here, I think, unless you say something verbatim from a textbook. Otherwise, you'll be fine.
     
  8. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    If you're interested in how someone else may have pulled off something similar to this, only his story is based off ancient China, then I'd suggest Guy Gavreil Kay's "River of Stars". He bases his story in some historical manner, but it is in a sense so fantastical, realistic as it is, that it differs greatly than what i'd imagine the actual past of China was.

    (and the fun part is, the only really fantastical part of the story is the ghosts -the rest sounds like it could all happen in real life, realistically)

    Though as for the characters I am not sure whether any of them were real people from history or not.... (history-illiterate, other than being obsessive with greek mythology and having taken the required high school circus of classes that is social studies :p)
     
  9. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    I know Ancient history quite well. I have been interested about it since I was a child.
    I would like to write a story about it but I haven't yet figured out how to approach it.
    I think that there is a demand for fantasy set in some place else than medieval era.
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Mike,

    My NaNo attempt will be made by taking a real character from history and all the episodes in his life that I could find via Wiki, transported to a different time and place so that it's not TOO obvious that it's (let's say) King James II of Scotland...and flesh it out with "facts" fresh from the breadbin of my mind.
     
  11. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    Sounds quite interesting.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    If you are looking for a Greek world, check out The Odyssey, and The Iliad. And also, oddly, Nietzsche's Zarathustra. Imagine those without the monsters.
     

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