1. stormr

    stormr Member

    Apr 7, 2013
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    plainwell, mi

    What would you, as a writer, do?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by stormr, Dec 29, 2013.

    Yesterday I was sitting around thinking I need a good story to tell. I was reading a short story about a couple young witches. Then a song I used to listen to popped in my head. It was The Rape of Maude Bown, by Inkubus sukkubus. I had my Idea now. Got in research mode. The story is true. Only a few problems, most I know i can work around, but...

    Main problem: There is no dates on when thos happened, only hing I know is that it took place somewhere from the early 1600's, and definatly before 1667.

    Question: Should I just make up some dates, or should I simply never give the reader any dates and just describe the setting and mention thats it's the 17th century? I am leaning towards the latter on that one.

    Another issue in the story line: After maude dies, it is simpy told as being 'later on', and her mother is then described as an old frail woman.

    Question: Should I fill in this period and stretch it out to cover many years of information? I know what became of her after Maude died, and what she did with her life and eventually what happens to her. Or should I try to keep it short and just add the necessary information?

    Issue three: After maude's mother dies, there is a fifty year gap until we meet the old man who has moved into the empty cottage where Maude once lived, he is the hero of the story being Maudes swetheart form when she was young, and the one who 'killed the bad guys' so to speak. He then tells the tale with all details on what happened to Maude. (I won't be writing it out in that order, well just meet him at the end, all the details will be written while the story is happening.)

    Question: What should I do with this fiftly year gap? Should I use a one-liner: 50 Years pass... Or should I keep it short and describe changes to the area over these last 50 years.

    As you can see this is kindy tricky to write a story based on a story were only key information exists. Would would you do in this situtaion. For starters there is also only a few actual names mentioned in the story other than calling the main bad guy as the Lord of the Manor. Which after several hours I did find his name. For the sake of having his own friends calling him something other than 'your lord'. The hardest part will be fleshing out Maude's life upto her death, when all we know is that she spun wool with her mother for a living, she was pretty, and friendly.

    I need to do this story justice and really bring it out in the light. It's a great story based on true facts, Just that there isn't many facts to go by.

    Anyone who want;s to read her story, heres a link (the more factual count): http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Just-History-Cheltenham-Art-Gallery-amp-Museum/story-18821643-detail/story.html
  2. joanna

    joanna Active Member

    May 25, 2010
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    I only occasionally read historical fiction, but from what I know about it the author researches as much as he can and takes creative liberty with the rest. The less that is known about the character, the more you will have to imagine yourself. Less readily available information also means more in-depth research for you.

    How important are specific dates to your story? I recall reading historical fiction works with only general time frames.

    I don't know what you should draw out or keep brief. If something fascinating happens in the story, tell us all about it. If a lot of nothing happens, tell us a little about it in a fascinating way.
  3. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    Are you planning on presenting a fictionalized view of a well-known historical event, like Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels? If so, then nailing down the times and dates and details of the people involved will be important. But, from your post, it appears that this may be a much more obscure incident, so earlty 17th century should be fine.

    You should only include what the reader needs to know to understand your story.

    In A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller divided the novel into three segments, each one about 500 years later than the one before, and he did both. He told the reader the time span that had passed, and he described the new setting (and conflicts) in a way that reinforced for the reader that things had changed. He did not do it by simply describing the changes, but rather worked them into the story.

    You need to decide how you want to tell the story. If you are looking to make it a "fleshed out" version of a historical incident, then you will have to do more than just do internet research. You will need to go to the location and learn as much as you can about it. Perhaps there is a local historian you can talk to about it. Local stories like this often retain a local following that can provide you with the kinds of details you are looking for. As an alternative, you may want to consider writing a completely fictional story based on this historical one, which will allow you to fill in the blanks however you wish. This could actually make for a better story.

    Good luck.
    heal41hp likes this.

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