IT’S HAPPENED BEFORE… ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BORROW BITS AND PIECES
When you’ve been in the middle of a very involved political fantasy like GAME OF THRONES or another of George R. R. Martin’s series, or one of Kate Elliot’s or of someone elses, do you wonder how they thought this all up, how they weave it all together?
How each group of characters is slightly different and yet sorta familiar to you?
The answer is HISTORY.
Not saying that this is how the writers of those mega epics do put their word heavy (counts going well over 150,000 words, probably closer to 250,000 if they even stop there!) stories and make it feel so real?
So tempting to say “there’s an app for that” except there isn’t. That would be too easy, right?
There is, however, a WAY you can come up with elements for your own stories – be they set in the future, in an alternative past, in a land that doesn’t exist (like Westeros or Middle Earth), or even something outside of the fantasy realm where you need backbiting, intrigue, and a vast cast of characters to make it run smoothly?
There really is no story that hasn’t been told or lived already, the only thing that changes is the era and possibly dropping in some elements that don’t really exist. You know, like dragons – St. George can’t have slain one because they never existed; Naomi Novik’s Regency air corp can’t fly them because they never existed. Doesn’t mean we can’t write stories with dragons in them if we want to. GRRM certainly has.
What we can take from history are ideas…lots of ideas. We can build characters, settings, problems, structure battle choreography based on true events. We can stitch up wardrobes, hammer out swords or other weapons, create games, dances, music, poetry, plays…everything our characters might need in a pseudo medieval world or a world that isn’t medieval in the least!
The future can use these same things only with a twist, naturally. Things get upgrades but in the end people are still people. They’ve been doing unto each other a host of nasty things for selfish and arrogant reasons and they aren’t about to stop, are they? Nope. And we can use that, so current history as well as the more ancient past can be shoveled into the furnace of our imagination, be dropped in a boiling pot to be rendered into something that is a mix of familiar and yet, once we put them together in a recipe of our own, something entirely different.
That’s what we’ll be doing in August when we use the past to build our own game of whatever we need. Doesn’t have to be thrones…we could build empires that encompass galaxies, universes, or merely one small stronghold or town.
It’s all up to you.
Looking forward to seeing virtual faces for
THE GAME OF HISTORICAL THRONES: USE HISTORY TO BUILD YOUR FANTASY PLOTS, WORLDS AND CHARACTERS
here at the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal RWA chapter
Beth Daniels celebrates 24 years as a published author (as Beth Henderson, Lisa Dane, Beth Cruise) in 2014. She’s had 28 novels, a number of short stories, articles about writing, and non-fiction books about writing published over time and has presented frequent and (hopefully) popular workshops all over the RWA online universe. This is her final year doing workshops as what she poured into them she lost in writing time for new stories. Currently her first urban fantasy story is out looking for a publisher and she’s working on a Steampunk Weird West trilogy. Writing as Nied Darnell, she has a story in COGWHEELS: 10 SHORT STEAMPUNK TALES, edited by Rayne Hall. Visit Beth at www.RomanceAndMystery2.com, www.Muse2Ms.com, www.WritingSteampunk.com, on Twitter at BethDaniels1, or stop by her sometimes updated blog www.2write2write2write.blogspot.com for writing tips and news.