1. AeowynFraser
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    AeowynFraser New Member

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    Conundrum

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AeowynFraser, Feb 16, 2012.

    Hi. I am a very new to the forum.

    I have a story idea but I don't know how to go about it. The idea is simple but the answer is too complex for me. It is an alternate history idea.

    What would our history be like if Henry VIII's older brother Arthur didn't die young?

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    Well, I'm no expert in the subject, but the general way I'd go about historical fiction is this:

    1st. Learn as much on the subject as possible, or at least as much as you're willing to learn specifically. Try and get a general idea on cause-and-effect, and path out the line of events (Action A lead to point B, which caused Action C to happen, etc.).

    2nd. Completely derail the path. Figure out, using logic and trying to get into the mindset of any major characters that will have a role in your writing, how others would act if Arthur had lived a long, prosperous life. How would opponents react? How would he react? Go about this project using the Socratic method; ask who would do what in response to the event, and go from there. In the end, though, it's your story, and if you want to have a man stick a knife in Arthur's back, then you go ahead and do that.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This will sound a bit brutal, but it really isn't.

    Nearly anyone can come up with a story idea. Anyone with an imagination, that is. And most people have at least bursts of imagination.

    How to go about it. Aye, there's the rub, as old Will wrote. The craft, the art of writing, takes time, and practice, and study.

    No one can tell you in a few sentences how to turn an idea into a story. This entire website (well, at least the threads actually discussing the writing process) is but a partial answer to that question. It is full of conflicting ideas, partial answers to specific questions, and even a sizeable amount of pure bullshit.

    I said it would sound harsh. But the upside is that people do succeed, if they put in the effort and are blessed with enough writing intuition to make their own luck. People do succeed, even if they never know precisely why and how.

    So, do you have the patience and the aching hunger to write, and fail, over and over until you fiinally succeed?
     
  4. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Go to your local library and do some research about it. Or read some books about the history of Henry's brother.
     
  5. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I don't know much about the topic either.

    When writing fiction you have to put yourself in this world. Imagine waking up in this alternate history and spending a day in this world. What would you see? Who is talking to who? What extraordinary things happen that these people think nothing of?
     
  6. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Quick question - is your story based around the time when Arthur was alive (after he didn't die), or is it based in an alternate present?

    The reason being that it's relatively straight forwards (note I say relatively) to write the still living Arthur and his rule based on what you know of him and the world he grew up in, but then extrapolating that a few more centuries is like taking that challenge and making it a hundred times worse. Of course the good news is that you can simply make it up completely and just allude to King Art and his changes on history.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  7. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    I would start by researching the current path of history. Look at how the death of his brother affected things. Would changing his fate change the path of history that much more? If so, brain storm as much cause and effect as possible. Arrange those into alternate time lines. Eventually, you'll see a line that is ripest for story.

    However, who will be your VP character or characters? Will it be Henry himself, presumably displaced and aware at least emotionally of the destiny now 'robbed' from him? Will the story centre instead on completely isolated events and the alternative history is just a backdrop/enabler for it?

    Write scenes, dialogue. Draw some pictures. Take some photos. Travel if you can. Don't try to write a story yet. Just get a feeling for the world and characters. A great book to show you what I mean is Donald Richie's Japanese Portraits, in which he writes simple, 1 to 5 page portraits of various people he has met in their daily trials and tribulations. Eventually, something will leap out at you. It may be a scene you've written, but probably something else. Be prepared for most of these things to be 'deleted scenes', 'test footage' and 'location scouting' -- but you'll end up knowing your world and people like the back of your hand.

    This is my advice. I've tried plotting intellectually. I've tried getting some kind of 'flow' happening. It hasn't worked. But I have I have been doing the process above for the last 4 years, and the application FreeMind is a great way to keep ideas mapped and connected and compartmentalised. In the last month, I have begun to feel closer to readiness than I have ever before. I've 'met' tonnes of interesting characters, 'been to' tonnes of amazing places, and been a fly on the wall for a hundreds of interesting conversations. I have the feeling I'm about to meet my main character/s, any minute now, and they'll tell me what their story will be.
     
  8. Rapscallion
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    Rapscallion Active Member

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    If you want to make the story realistic then you'll have to be a bit of a historian on that time and the events that occurred then. Then your writing will require a bit of research unless you're already a boffin on the people, times and places.
    Optionally, you could take a lighter look at it and develop comedy.

    But ultimately the answer to your question lies in the story you will build on the foundation idea. The way to go about it, is to write about it.
     

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