1. alexx
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    alexx New Member

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    Working on the public reaction to events in my story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by alexx, Oct 27, 2013.

    I'm writing a book that's set in alternative modern times, where just like in this world the public have an opinion on everything, but I think that as I get deeper into my story it becomes harder for me to gauge correctly the reaction of an 'outside' or equally, a member of the public.
    The basic idea is this girl, Electra (She legally changed her name to this from Elizabeth) has a very elderly and frail grandmother who is queen of England, next in line is her father followed by her brother, Edward.
    Edward is the family's golden boy and although Electra was closer to their mother she died suddenly (when Electra was 13) and that is when she really came to (rightly or wrongly) felt left out in the cold and her life spiralled out of control.
    She did not just 'not toe the line' but did everything possible to reject the life she was born into - she was a party girl - underage boozing, smoking, sleeping around, in trouble, at school always on the front page of the tabloids until even they became bored of her antics.
    However when she was 20 Edward was killed in war leaving her as the sole heir to the throne.
    Ultimately the story will come to focus on how underneath she is a really decent person and will although it was not the life she wanted do her duty and take on the crown, it is also a love story between her and her best friend a working class boy she met at school (he had a sports scholarship) and the sacrifices he makes for the girl he loves.


    My question is how to set the tone of the publics reaction to initially finding out that Edward had died and that the crown would eventually pass to his trouble maker sister? How would you react if it was your royals?
    I don't know whether to come down more on the side or mourning (similar to the death of princess Diana) or whether it would be more of a case of fear for the future and general unrest at Electra coming to hold the throne.

    On top of that there's also the reaction of the royal family themselves to consider?
    I just want to make sure I get the right tone with the reaction.
    Thanks!
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I don't have a royal family in my country, so it's hard for me to say with certainty. But one thing that strikes me is that you indicate her father is next in line for the crown and the grandmother is still currently queen. Her brother Edward dies, meaning she will eventually become queen. But this could still be some time in the future. The grandmother still has to die, then the father could still rule for quite some time, even if he is not particularly young. So, potentially, it could even be twenty or thirty years before Electra would get the crown, during which time she would hopefully mature. I'm not sure, therefore, how much energy would be spent by most folks being upset at this potential issue. If she suddenly becomes queen, that would be different. Or, at the very least, the father would have to die, giving at least a little more urgency to the situation, if the queen is very, very old or sick right now.

    Given that in the current world, the royal family has very little actual power, I don't know just how upset most people would be -- sure there would be some people who are upset (as there are always people who are upset at everything). In your world, does the queen have substantial power? I could see there being more concern in that case, especially if there is reason to believe Electra would assume power in the very near future.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I was thinking along the same lines as @chicagoliz. I'd say if the king/queen is just a figurehead, as in the UK today, then the only people who would care that this girl has a 'past' would be gossipmongers and gossip-eaters. The rest of the population would just shrug it off. These people are really just hereditary celebrities.

    However, if your royal family actually has power, and the decisions they take will materially affect their 'subjects' I'd say there would be a great deal of concern. Look at the past, where 'bad' kings and queens did terrible things to their subjects and/or just left them to rot.
     
  4. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Grandma still has to die, and then Dad gets to take over until he dies before Electra/Elizabeth will, so it wouldn't be a cause of concern.
     
  5. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    It will indeed be some time until the girl will actually become queen. Here in the Netherlands the queen (somewhere in her 70s) recently left the trone to her son, assuming he's about 40 it will be another 30 years before he stands down.
    For your story that would mean the main character would be 50 before she gets to the trone herself, assuming your fictional royal family is a little older she will be about 40-45.

    Speaking for the people in my country; some would be devastated to hear a child in the royal family died, others (like me) honestly couldn't care less what happens to the royal family, because they don't think the "royal family" is any better than any other family.
     
  6. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    I pretty much agree with what everyone else has been saying, but I think it might be good to look at what sort of factions make up the public. If religion has a big influence on public opinion than I feel like they would be much more likely to be worried, and possibly even start calling her the antichrist or some equivalent. Now if there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the current rule of the country she might be welcomed, either because having a weak ruler would make it much easier to have a revolution, or because she seems different from her predecessors.
     
  7. alexx
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    alexx New Member

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    That's great stuff guys! I think maybe I will look at changing it up a bit, maybe having her dad be a royal by marriage and hence not in line to the throne?

    Power wise, they do have a little more power than the current British monarchy do but mostly they are just figureheads, representatives if you will.
     
  8. Dazen
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    Dazen Active Member

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    I think it's important for you to elaborate, so that we can kind of see how close (in relation to time) that the story starts before, if she does, have her coronation. And I think that the way you depict her evolving, and her development as a character, should be relatively subtle; although, obviously, this is my own personal opinion, and despite what everyone else decides about the story, it's yours to sculpt and hammer into the shape you want, not theirs. So, good luck :)
     
  9. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    I don't think I mentioned it in my previous post, but people's reaction to that is like a reaction to anything else: it depends on the person.

    You will often hear how sad people are about certain events taking place in a royal family, or how worried they are about something, but in reality this is only the reaction of a very small minority of the people. This is only pictured as the general reaction to an event because this is a reaction people want to see rather than "why would I care about what happens in the royal family?"
     
  10. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    how does the British public react to Harry everytime he hits the front page either dressed as Hitler or in Vegas playing hide the sausage with strippers? Between "that's no way for a future king to behave" to "ah leave him - he's a soldier on leave" to "who gives a crap about the stupid royals anyway?"

    if the people in power thought an heir/ess could be a potential time bomb they take him/her for a Paris tunnel drive anyway.

    in your story it looks like she is getting the crown all-of -a-sudden. Anything can happen, its up to you.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That would be MY story. How does the public react in YOUR story? Make no mistake, this is your decision, and only yours, to make as a writer.
     
  12. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Consider the reaction from the media too. In the UK the newspapers seem to care more than the average member of the public about the royal family. I suspect they'd print substantial articles on both the angles you're considering.
     
  13. Fred
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    Fred Member

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    Well, he can do much more of what he likes, since he'll never be king. It's his brother, William, who's second-in-line... ;)

    In the 1950s and 1960s the Queen's younger sister, Princess Margaret, was quite the naughty party girl and even though she was never going to be crowned, the powers that be leaned on her and pretty much forced her to abandon the man she loved and behave with more propriety. When Edward VIII fell for an American divorcee, the Prime Minister forced him to abdicate in favour of his brother. Things have moved on these days, but it's hard to swim against the tide of public opinion and the pressure from family and government to conform to certain expected standards of behaviour. The monarch may not have the actual power to govern, but is still the Head of State, and, technically, under our ridiculous unwritten constitution, has the power to "hire and fire" prime ministers. It is considered extremely important that the Head of State not only of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but also of the Commonwealth is seen to uphold that office with dignity, and steer clear of all forms of unacceptable personal behaviour. Hey, it's tough enough hanging on to Australia as it is! ;)

    That said, though, my personal opinion (and I hold the republican position that the monarchy should have no part to play in a modern constitutional democracy) is that if the next in line is not to your taste, you have absolutely no right to whine. It's not a democracy. You have no choice. You don't get to pick and choose the one with the prettiest wife and the newest baby over the boring old one. That's how monarchies work. If you're dumb enough to devote yourself to a single privileged family of mediocre intellectual capacity, you deserve whatever you get. And thanks, by the way, for helping to stunt the social, political and economic development of this country... *stomps off, grumbling...*
     

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