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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Is this against the rules of writing?

   
Author Topic: Is this against the rules of writing?
C@R3Y
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I'm writing this story right now, and I was wondering if it is okay to create your own fictional lore inside of a story that takes place in the United States, or in the world, rather. To clarify, demons and spirits and, for instance, the secrets behind the Bermuda Triangle and the Suicide Forest in Japan, is actual known lore. I made up my own lore, but in THIS world. Is it okay to say someone famous, "Edgar Allen Poe", maybe, had a dream, or a premonition, of something happening that he didn't actually dream about or see? Poe didn't actually speak in my story, as he is not a character at all. It was mentioned, sort of, between characters in a conversation and Poe was accused of being part of this lore that I made up.

I don't know if I am making sense. If not, let me know what you did not understand so I can try explaining it better.

I would like to keep it the way it is. But I just want to be careful, as there is a man in history that I have mentioned in a fictional story, that experiences a fictional event, that he didn't actually experience himself in his life.

Now is that "against the rules" to have a real man experience a fictional event that the writer has made up?" It was only very, very briefly mentioned, but it still has his name in the story.

[ November 27, 2011, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: C@R3Y ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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You aren't entirely making sense; however due to my special communicative powers, I still understand what you mean (I think.)

The answer is no. Plenty of fiction involves attributions of things to real historical figures. Heck, that show on the "sy fy" channel, Warehouse 13, is basically all about such things.

I assume I know the story you mean, and will see how it actually works out...but the concept of which you speak, I don't see anything wrong with it in and of itself.

Edit: Now, if you were attributing things to a contemporary, living "real-life" person their could be legal issues apart from any writing rules, but with someone like Poe it isn't an issue.

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C@R3Y
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Ah. Okay. And yes, Merlion, it is The Horsemen of Route 116 story. And you did get it right. I just couldn't find a way to explain it better than that.

Poe says something in my story that he never said when he was alive.

I think that would have been better to say. I think that makes sense. Maybe. But anyway, when I send it to you again, soon, you can see how it plays out.

Thanks again.

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Merlion-Emrys
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I will say that it may be best, just stylistically, to say that Poe was rumored to have said whatever-it-is, especially in the urban-legend type context your working in.
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extrinsic
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Attributing an invented remark or comment to a celebrity is a time honored and noble fiction tradition. Actually, it's a version of a False Document, only the actual commenter lived at one time rather than also being a fictional invention

Credibilty, though, is implicated, either it was something Poe might have said, and in his voice, or it's from an alternate reality where anything credibile goes.

A way to diffuse potential credibilty concerns is to double up the lore. Make it uncertain whether Poe actually shared his understanding of the lore, but a consensus attributes it to him. Their lore that he shared his lore. Or that the consensus believes it came from him, but doubts he did any more than invent it, yet it has a validity that transcends Poe's ken, as though it came to him through some mystical trail from the distant past.

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C@R3Y
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Ah, both of you make excellent points. It helps most definitely.
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Meredith
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Seems to me a guy named Dan Brown made a lot of money writing about historical figures doing things they never really did. Why not you?
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C@R3Y
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Thanks, Meredith. I never read anything by Dan Brown. Is he worth the read? Any suggestions?
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Merlion-Emrys
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That could be called into question.

Edit: She's talking about the Davinci Code and its ad nauseum sequals that sent many people into spasms even though they were about supposed happenings I'd known about for ages.

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C@R3Y
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Okay. Only saw the movie. I'll put that on the book list, just for a read at some point.
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MAP
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C@R3Y,

If you have seen the movie you should know how Brown fudged the history of Davinci, Jesus, and the Knights of Templar to fit his story.

The movie National Treasure plays around with the founding fathers. The movie the Prestige used Tesla, and don't forget Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is I think you're fine.

[ November 28, 2011, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: MAP ]

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Merlion-Emrys
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Nicola Tesla is also in Sanctuary. As a vampire.
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C@R3Y
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That's good to hear, MAP. I was only wondering if Dan Brown was a good read, for the read, not really for my story. x]

Anyway, I figured that I was all right.

Thanks.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by C@R3Y:
That's good to hear, MAP. I was only wondering if Dan Brown was a good read, for the read, not really for my story. x]

Anyway, I figured that I was all right.

Thanks.

IMO, no. I read one Dan Brown novel and will never read another. I was merely referring to the fact that playing a bit loose with history (referring, for example, to Leonardo and Isaac Newton being members of the priory of sion) doesn't appear to be a problem.
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KayTi
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Usually called "alternative history" or something along those lines. I'm writing an alt-history future tale right now (about a post-911 USA where there have been more attacks and all Muslims are being relocated "for their protection.")

Good luck, go for it!

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RLKnight
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What you talk about is actually fairly common in fiction. For example, National Treasure and National Treasure Book of Secrets... they take common lore and conspiracy theory and extrapolate on them adding in ficticious events and attribute them to real people. We all know that George Washington never actually cut down a cherry tree and then said "I can not tell a lie." There are comments attributed to people all the time, even in non-fiction. Sarah Palin never actually said, "I can see Russia from my house." That quote was from Tina Fey.. lol.
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Smaug
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And then there was the movie Billy the Kid Versus Dracula. Just don't try to pass off your fiction as truth. I mean, what if Billy the Kid really did have a run in with Dracula?
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