1. SoraCat
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    SoraCat New Member

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    Anyone who knows Victorian Era History?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by SoraCat, May 30, 2013.

    Hello guys!

    I have a character, essentially, who is a young socialite who has just come to London for the Season. Through a lot of boredom, pressure, self-discovery and musing, she decides she'd rather be doing something more fulfilling with her life. Somehow, I have to get her onto the continent.

    I was thinking of having her show interest in the Crimean War, and the few women acting as nurses there. What would the news in London be, what would people be hearing? If I set the story a good thirty or more years later, it could also be the Boer War.

    Working out when she'd have to take a Boat, and when a train, and all that jazz is so difficult. I get so caught up on details when I'm writing Histoically. It's more a supernatural book than a Historical one, yet I always get caught up.

    Thanks for any advice about this period, anyways!
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    There you go - make her a glamorous cabaret or burlesque star on her way to the Moulin Rouge via London's West End or a courtesan on her way to Pigalle via Soho.

    Your possibilities here are endless. What are you looking for exactly? Dreary field hospitals with dismembered bodies or lipstick and silk stockings?
     
  3. SoraCat
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    SoraCat New Member

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    She get's it in her head that she wishes to do something worthwhile. Though, it's more of a dream - she has no experience or knowledge with what she's getting herself into; it's more a selfish escape. And she does not make it to the War, in the plot, but ends up traveling with a Professor and his retainer, and the three head to Colonial India.

    So, perhaps the idea of something less dire would work - like the Moulin Rouge idea. But, she grows fed up of the gowns and pomp that she, at one time, was so looking forward too, so I'm not sure that'd fit.

    It's basically a wealthy girl escaping London, I'm just exploring ways and ideas, and those ideas would also have an impact on who she is.

    Thanks for replying. :3
     
  4. Webster
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    Webster Senior Member

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    Have you read Drood by Dan Simmons? That's the best example I can come up with of a modern writer tackling the Victorian era. Then there's Anubis Gates by Tim Powers, but I haven't read it. They're both in the supernatural vein, with lots of germaine historical content. Then there's Dickens and every other bloody old writer we're force fed in school. I'm being irreverent, but do at least try to appreciate them on your own terms. In the end I had to give in and read Dickens, simply to plug gaping holes in my knowledge, but I really enjoyed it, too.
    I'm not drawn to write historical fiction, but I would assume it's wisest to immerse yourself in the period you want to write about before making a serious attempt at your story- you'll end up doing it anyway when people start pointing out any howlers. What's more you'll became knowledgeable about something, which is always a good thing.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I know a lot about Florence Nightingale if you go for a socialite interested in the Crimean War.
     
  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    It wasn't uncommon for women of the upper classes to get involved with war efforts, but they typically looked after the soldiers who were coming home. If they were officers. And single. And not suffering from anything unsightly. The others had "common" nurses to look after them.
    Are you set on having it set during a war? Travel would be restricted, even by ship. If a war is central to the plot, perhaps she could be touring the continent, looking for some kind of fashinable charity work, when war breaks out and she's stuck.
    And she would need a chaperone. Women simply did not travel on their own, and not with any man who wasn't their father or husband or some other suitable male relative. She could be trusted not to get up to something scandalous with a woman, but only a man would keep her out of serious trouble.
    If her parents are dead, and she's of the age of majority, she'd be less restricted--as long as she didn't care too much about scandal.
    A connection to the military or a missionary would get her to the Raj the easiest.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I worked at an antiques auction house during my years at university. I know my Victorian furniture. If it helps, just ask.
     
  8. foiler
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    foiler Member

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    You might read a few pages of "A Study In Scarlet", By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the first Sherlock Holmes story, placed squarely in London during the Victorian Era, and - in my humble opinion - no one gives you a feel for the the Victorian Era like Doyle. In the first opening pages, taking place around 1878 (the story was published in 1887) Watson has just returned from Afghanistan where he served as a Medic and was wounded. He's living off a military pension, halfheartedly looking for work, and talks about kicking around London aimlessly, looking for a place to live. When he takes on Holmes as a roommate, he describes how they go about their day as two seemingly ordinary bachelors in a London apartment. You might pick up some good things from the first few pages. Google it. I'm sure you'll find it online. Good luck.
     
  9. SoraCat
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    SoraCat New Member

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    Thank you for your book suggestions. I think, especially Drood would be wonderful because it's a modern author taking on the era, and, fitting my genre. However, I will give them all a read.

    The war is not integral to the plot; as I said, she does not make it there. Though the actual war going on would be interesting to explore, as it mirrors the supernatural themes and I think that'd be best. Also, I love researching Florence Nightingale and how she got into it and everything, so any help that could be offered would be amazing - as with furniture!

    I've been focusing my research on the Raj, for now, though, so if anyone knows about that era in India that would be wonderful too. You can never do to much research.

    Thank you for your help, guys, I'm forming an idea!
     
  10. La_Donna
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    La_Donna Member

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    I don't think it's likely she would suddenly go "I want to be a nurse!" But it really isn't uncommon for upper class families/people to go travelling on the continent to see places up classical antiquity, particularly in Italy, or to Paris which was very fashionable. If you look up the Grand Tour, you might get some ideas.
     
  11. SoraCat
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    SoraCat New Member

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    Thanks for the grand tour idea. :3

    And yes, not likely - but it's not supposed to be a good idea. It's more so about her getting in way over her head on a rather flippant idea.
     

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