1. JeffreyW
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    JeffreyW New Member

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    How do I get my MC to wake up in a previous/historical time?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JeffreyW, Aug 12, 2011.

    A previous thread asked how to get the MC to a different world. I want to have my MC arrive in a different time on Earth. I have an interest in medieval England, so my MC would "wake up" in that period. The MC wouldn't know how he got there, and everyone around him acts like he belongs. The MC would have to "catch up" with local history and events on his own without revealing that he came from the future. The locals might think he is crazy and put him away.

    I would then have the MC discover some kind of villainous plot (assassination, coup, theft of a valuable item, etc.), and he has to figure out how to stop the execution of the plot. I was thinking at this time, some of the characters around the MC begin to wonder who this guy really is. They might consider him a spy.

    Anyway, I need ideas on how I get the MC to "back" in time (without getting into major sci-fi or fantasy explanations. I want the book to be mostly historical suspense fiction). I haven't decided yet whether to have the MC end up back in the present, or live out his days in history.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Peutra
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    Peutra Member

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    Uhh, due to the fact that it's impossible to traverse in time due to current technology, any mention of time traveling is.. ba bam. Sci-fi, fantasy. There's no way (that I know of, anyway) to send a char back in time without sci-fi (time machine) or fantasy (some sort of magic) involved.
     
  3. JeffreyW
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    JeffreyW New Member

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    Hmm. I see what you mean. I guess a little sci-fi or fantasy is needed. I just don't want it to be a major part of the story. Maybe the MC could be exploring a cave and come out the other end and into medieval England. I could tell of a legend of the cave, and the MC wanted to check to see if the legend was true. Would I have to go into detail about how the cave transported him there? I just want the MC to be in present day one moment, then medieval times the next, without much of a narrative bridge.

    Aha! I think I came up with an idea. The MC is an American college professor of medieval studies. He is on sabbatical and is exploring a castle in England. He comes across a long forgotten secret passage that carries him back in time. He gets lost in the passage and backtracks to the entrance. But he discovers he has been propelled back in time.

    How does that sound?
     
  4. Rassidan
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    Rassidan Senior Member

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    Why explain it at all, or are you intending to send him back to where he came from at the end? You could always use divine intervention. Matbe someone prayed or wished upon a star for help and the main character showed up.
     
  5. JeffreyW
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    JeffreyW New Member

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    I was thinking that the MC leaves some kind of message in medieval times, and he comes across it in present day. Maybe to right a wrong.
     
  6. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I sent a woman forward in time once from the 1600s by letting people accuse her of being a witch and chased her off of a cliff. Normally she would have hit the rocks at the bottom and died, but she hit a strange, blue light and woke up in the present time. If you want to add a mystery to it, you don't need to make it more complicated than that.

    Personally, I would prefer a bit unique stuff like that. A secret passage, touching an object etc is too overused for my taste. Narnia, anyone? (true, that was technically a fantasy world, but you get the idea.)
     
  7. JeffreyW
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    JeffreyW New Member

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    WriterDude,
    I like your idea. I'll try to think of something unique. I'm sure I can find something in the ruins of an old castle that would send the MC back in time. Maybe he can find a scroll and read it out loud.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Same answer as before. It's your book, stretch your own imagination.
     
  9. Mr Grumpy
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    Mr Grumpy Member

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    In regards to the American professor studying castles in England and being trasported back in time etc - watch Richard Donner's Timeline (2003) - and replace your American with Billy Connelly and England with France.

    I'm not saying you can't come up with an alternative (or better) story - it just sounds a bit too much like the movie and you might want to aproach it from a different angle.
     
  10. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    The characters gets drunk in a pub in...let's say east midlands, gets kicked out, walks in turns for a while then crushes on a soft matress of grass.

    The day after he wakes up and it's AD1300.

    No explanation needed, at least at the beginning.
     
  11. JeffreyW
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    JeffreyW New Member

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    @Mr Grumpy, I never saw that movie. I guess I should watch it.
    @StrangerWithNoName, I like that idea. Maybe the MC could get drunk in a present day bar, then discover it's the same bar back in period he wakes up in.
     
  12. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    No offesense, but didn't you just say you wanted something unique? Maybe reading a scroll isn't the way to go. ;) If you want an ancient castle, I can think of a number of ways to travel back in time:

    * Castles often have a family cemetery or mausoleum nearby. What if the characters search the graveyard for some reason and find a grave that's not supposed to be there? (body was never found etc). When they examine it closer, it could reveal a stairway into the dungeons under the castle perhaps, and along the way, they find themselves walking through a tick fog. When they enter the dungeons, it's somehow a few hundred years earlier.

    * Maybe there's a magical painting that drags them into the past or into another world?

    * It could simply be a spider-bite making the MC feel dizzy. He lays down in bed, passes out and wakes up in the past.

    And so on. Get creative, dude. :)
     
  13. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    I had this exact sort of thing happening in one of my novels, even going back to the same period of time!

    Anyway, when I did it the novel was a fantasy book, so it was easy to come up with an explanation. If you want to avoid fantasy as much as possible, you could perhaps use the idea that he has a 'split' personality, one here and one back then which he can flit between (though not at his own will). This was an idea I had originally for my novel, but in the end I used something different. You could make this idea very scientific if you want, getting into psychology maybe...
     
  14. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm going to side track a little here. No matter how your character got back there, everyone knew him? So either he's in someone else's body and only travelled their mentally or he's been there before. Now here we have the start of a paradox (and I really love them). If he's been there before, and he doesn't have that in his memory, then it means that he must go back further into the past, probably from a point in his own personal future, so that he can go back knowing when he's going to arrive initially, and prepare the way for hiself as it were.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers.
     

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