January 26th, 2011

Fireworks Delight
  • mbarker

Writing Excuses 5.21: Alternate History

Writing Excuses 5.21: Alternate History

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/01/23/writing-excuses-5-21-alternate-history/

Key Points: Alternate history: take real history and change something, then write a story based on that history. Pure alternate history just changes a historic event. "Duck, Mr. President" alternate history usually triggers a change through time travel. Fantasy alternate history adds magic. Write what you know, and write what you're passionate about. IF you want to write alternate history, be ready to do a lot of research. Use the little fact, big lie technique -- distract the reader with facts and details you know, so that he doesn't notice the blank background over there. Find the scholar who knows what you need and make friends with them. Only put details in that move the plot forward, build character, or set the stage. Beware the historical detail that can't be explained easily to a modern audience. Work hard to make your alternate history accessible to a modern audience, with characters who readers identify with that do not have modern attitudes. Be true to the period, show your reader how and why people thought then, and avoid caricatures.
Collapse )
[Dan] I do indeed. We're going to just do the classic branching point alternate history. Pick a major event in history that you happen to love, decide that it comes out differently, and then write a little story.
[Howard] So a Duck, Mister President?
[Dan] Not a time travel, but like a branching point. A... where somebody won the wrong war or lost the war...
[Howard] Horseshoe fell off.
[Dan] Or the wrong thing happened. Then write a story that takes place 100 years later.
[Howard] Excellent. Well, this has been Writing Excuses, you're out of excuses, now go write.