1. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Do I Need a Year?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Thornesque, Oct 4, 2013.

    I had an idea for a story, and what I want to do is have it set in real places. I'm not sure where yet; potentially Chicago. But that's irrelevant.

    The story would bring in a fantasy element. What I want to do is have this element be known to the public - something that came out and we discovered existed. But I don't want to set this story in the year 2094, either.

    Would it work to not mention when the story takes place (though details would show it's pretty modern), but also not mention when exactly they discover was made? Just elude to the fact that there was a discovery made?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    really can't tell till it's finished... it'll either work or not...

    [and the word is actually 'allude'... 'elude' means to evade or escape]

    hugs, m
     
  3. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Fair enough.

    v.v I knew I got that wrong. I actually spelled it totally bass-ackwards the the first time I wrote it, and when I wrote that word, I figured...hey. At least it's actually a word. Thank you for the correction. -files away in spelling/grammar portion of the brain-

    hugs, m
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe not a year, but at least a period of time in mind when writing. I mean, you don't want to mention someone looking for her leg warmers, Madonna gloves and her iPhone 5... :rolleyes:
     
  5. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Years are often good if it's based in the future or the past. If it's in the contemporary time within a span of a decade, then there' not much point. You could if the story is supposed to be chronological.
     
  6. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I guess my thing is whether or not the reader would be able to accept, "Yes, this is going on 'today,' but something happened in the past that didn't really happen."

    I have another story that I'm working on with a friend where we do something like this. However, in that particular storym, which is a series, we not only give years, but we have an entire book that's dedicated to explaining the event, which happens in 1951, that obviously people aren't going to actually know about. So we're giving the full history to the readers. In this story, however, I don't intend to draw it out like that. It's not quite as "big" of a story, and the only significance of describing that event would be to explain why things are the way they are.

    So, that's my main worry. That I'm going to portray this in a modern era, in a real place, and people are going to say, "I've been to Chicago, and I know for a fact that this isn't going on."
     
  7. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think as long as you make it clear very early on, that your story is an alternate history then you will be fine and readers won't be surprised that things don't match real life.

    There's heaps of successful "what if" stories based on the premise of something happening which actually didn't in real life. The whole steampunk genre for a start.

    You could consider what impact the discovery would make on everyday life. It seems likely there would be some impact, if the public knows of it, rather than just scientists. (Not knowing what your fantasy element is, I don't know for sure) Then you can make interesting little changes to life 'today' to reflect the alternate history.
     
  8. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    This is definitely something I already intend to do. It's not something that's going to effect everyone, but there are peoplet hat it will effect, and they're, of course, the peopel that my story focuses on. ^.^
     
  9. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    I don't think it really matters when your story takes place.
    For example: P.C. Cast wrote a story taking place in the "present" where people know there is a mutation in some people's DNA which makes them capable of things other people can't do (if their body doesn't reject it between the age of 16 and 20).
    Did the lack of detail about the discovery make the story bad? No. Did the fact that this doesn't actually exist make the story any less interesting or convincing? No, it didn't, because the characters, the settings and the way everything interacted were well written, the important details were explained in the story without interrupting the story itself. Another important detail is in my opinion making sure you don't dramatize the effect the discovery has on people.

    If you keep those things in mind you should be fine.
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    There's an alternate history trope in urban fantasy. Most famously Charlene Harris had "True Blood" (a blood substitute that vampires could live off of) invented several years before the events of her first novel. While 1951 is considerably earlier than that, I don't think I would find it hard to suspend my disbelief.
     
  11. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the opinions, everyone. Really appreciate it. ^.^'
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    well it's fantasy, right? speculative fiction / alternative history? don't see any way of doing it wrong... Man in High Castle, published in 1962, takes place in 1962, 15 years after Nazis won WWII... Can't imagine any reader complaining about that historical inaccuracy :)
     

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