1. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Corruption of Historical Events and Other Time-Period Shenanigans?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by isaac223, Jan 27, 2017.

    I have an upcoming planned series of psychological/mystery/fantasy novels wherein various "arcs" of the series take place in different eras in this world's history, with the audience often reading of a momentous historical event, the time leading up to the event and/or the aftermath the event, where, in novels taking place later than earlier installments of the series, the information regarding that event may have been corrupted, directly contradicting the knowledge the audience has about the world and the event, which acts as a means of foreshadowing and/or world building. Of course, the mystery elements I feel would work well with the magic system, the understanding of which will act as the primary mystery over this series' time span, while simultaneously perpetuating smaller conflicts and mysteries that drive the story and the world even further. The psychological elements are directly associated with the nature of the magic system, though that isn't important.

    I'm not quite sure how I could do this though. My questions are mainly:
    1: How and why would one even go about corrupting knowledge of important events in history? What'd be the process and the point?
    2: How could I present these contradictions between what the world's inhabitants believe and what the audience knows without being too blatant about it so that the audience doesn't think that I, as the author, merely mixed up information concerning my own world?
    3: How could a large mystery be perpetuated between various generations of people, and protagonists who ultimately have nothing to do with one another besides a potentially shared bloodline?
    4: Is there a need to have much interconnecting the different generations and time periods besides taking place in the same world?
    4.5: How could I have a boldly plot-important means of interconnecting the narratives of the "arcs" taking place in different time periods if I decide to or if there is a need to?
     
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  2. SpoopleMcDooples

    SpoopleMcDooples New Member

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    Okay, I'll try to give some possible solutions to your questions. I'm pretty much just going to write down how I'd answer the questions if I was writing your story.

    1: Maybe there would be some kind of artifact or other sort of cursed object in the family, since I would have all main characters be blood related. Not sure how I'd get it to the family, maybe someone finds it at some archeology thing, and from there it goes back in time corrupting the history of that persons Family, and ultimately the history of the world.
    2: Now, how that artifact would influence the past would vary I think, but it would always be something negative. The hard thing is, that you'd have to choose things that have a visible connection to the history we know today i.e. important things that happened, like wars or the french revolution. This would undoubtably strain the suspension of disbelief, so I can't really help you with that one all that much, although you could maybe figure out some kind of Butterfly-effect type thing.
    3: Well, the actual reveal of the artifact being found in the present would be near the very end of the story, so it could just be sitting in the Background and waiting. You'd have to hide that really well for it not to be obvious though.
    4: Not necessarily, but it would probably be nice to see some trinkets from past adventures, or hear stories, and how the future people think about them. Maybe a character could even appear twice, once as a child, and another time as a grandfather maybe.
    4.5: That would pretty much be that artifact thingie.

    As a final note, what might be difficult is telling these stories with little to no consistency in the cast of characters. Maybe you could occasionally go back to the present where there are actual main characters.

    Hope that helped.
     
  3. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    I thank you for your response, though I didn't mean the literal changing or corruption of those events. I meant the distortion of the information regarding those events as the people in the world know them. I.E. A did B in Year XXXX but people in the future were somehow convinced that A did C in Year XXXY, or so on and so forth.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, without sounding too cynical, I'd say just look around you at what's happening at the moment, politically.

    We have a situation where myth is replacing fact, and truth is being warped out of all being. It has to do with what people get told is true, and whether or not they are capable of ferreting out the actual truth instead.

    Motivation? That's not hard. If you get people to believe whatever you want them to believe, you can get them to do whatever you want them to do. Demagogues rely on this tactic because it works.

    There is also the related concept that history is written by the victors. This means the people who lost a battle or war don't usually have a voice in telling their side of the story. It has nothing to do with 'being right,' unless you believe that might does make right.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  5. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    The OP is giving me real Assassin's Creed vibes. If you haven't already, you may want to look at synopses for the series, and how the Templar's distorted history and manipulated society to advance their agenda.

    Stopping short of full-fledged international conspiracies, you get something like this when new dynasties take power. The new ruler often plays up his predecessor's flaws, for example. Sometimes to ridiculous degrees.
     
  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    I think all of your issues could be solved with the inclusion of two characters (which you may already have, but aren't using to fullfil these particular roles)...

    Every (science fiction) time travel story has a character who remembers/knows "what really happened" as well as what 'reality' looks like now. This character reveals 'facts' that are not longer facts, explains the difference between old reality and new, what difficulties your story people face because of reality changing, etc.

    The second character—let's call this person the newb—needs various of these things explained to get them up to speed for their role in upcoming story events. And 'newb' can be interpreted rather broadly in that s/he just needs to be someone new to the particular situation they're about to go into... or find themselves in.
     
  7. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    I'm sorry, but I do have to again note that this isn't a time travel story with literal changing of historical events or shifting of reality. If I do decide to write something along those lines, I will keep your suggestions, but its rather the misinformation of masses, stating that what happened is different than what it is. The conveying of lies regarding historical events, stating that they're different than what they truly are for personal gain.
     
  8. LachlanMM

    LachlanMM New Member

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    It sounds like you plan to show the reader what really happened, during one of the novels, then have the MC retell it differently in a subsequent novel. Am I getting that right? You're concerned that the reader will spot the difference and assume you (the writer) messed up? I don't think that's a problem -- as jannert notes, real-world examples are all over the place -- but I do worry that the readers won't even notice the distortion if the two ends of it are in different books.
     
  9. isaac223

    isaac223 Active Member

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    Thank you. Yes, this is correct. It is not a time-travel story. It is quite literally as you described it. Though, it may be a later MC (different generations will have different characters), an organization/group, a completely distinct individual or just the natural changing of information as its conveyed over large periods of times. I'm just not sure how to properly use this as a means of foreshadowing as I've expressed through my questions in the original post.
     
  10. LachlanMM

    LachlanMM New Member

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    Thanks for the info -- with that in mind, I'll take a crack at 3 of your questions.

    1: How and why would one even go about corrupting knowledge of important events in history? What'd be the process and the point? A bigoted or corrupt rich guy gets a scholar to write the corrupted version as a text, then uses his influence to make that text mandatory reading for whoever the rich kids are. It happens all the time, maybe because he's got a stake in the new version (ie, "make sure that nobody mentions any women soldiers -- we can't let our women think they can be important", says the misogynist billionaire)

    2: How could I present these contradictions between what the world's inhabitants believe and what the audience knows without being too blatant about it so that the audience doesn't think that I, as the author, merely mixed up information concerning my own world? Go ahead and be blatant -- a very subtle text looks like a mistake or a typo. Go for obvious, not subtle -- you'ld be surprised how much the average reader can miss. Don't be afraid to point it right out.

    3: How could a large mystery be perpetuated between various generations of people, and protagonists who ultimately have nothing to do with one another besides a potentially shared bloodline? The rich kids in my answer to question #1 grow up to be important people in later years, and when the time comes to pay for new school textbooks, they naturally want them to be "accurate" (that is, corresponding to what they themselves were taught when they were children). They'll be expecting "women are never soldiers" because that just makes sense to them, so that's what they'll pay for, for the next generation of rich kids. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
     

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