For the past few years, I have been writing various forms of fiction; either working on my own novel, or creating content for Missing Worlds Media. One of the things I have been doing a lot when writing, is doing research into historical people, places and events. Adding a touch of real life to your fiction helps root it into the audience's reality, making it easier for them to grasp the timeline of your story and get emotionally involved.
Here are some examples based on my personal research using historical facts:
- Researching feudal Japan in order to make Ninja/Oni inspired criminal syndicate.
- Researching the Italian Mafia to help with a character’s background information.
- Researching Ancient Egypt for creating a realistic setting in a scene.
- Researching the sinking of the HMS Eurydic for use as a pivotal event in an origin story.
So today’s writing prompt will be about taking moments from history, and using them to create fiction. Given that July celebrates both Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence day (July 4th), I decided to focus on those dates for our historical resource options.
BOOTCAMP LESSON 14: From Fact to Fiction
The basics of a story is a plotline which follows the exploits of the main characters as they attempt to resolve a conflict while making their way to their intended goal. When we write a story, it is our job to come up with these elements. However, pulling inspiration from actual events, current or old, can be a great start to building a storyline and helps anchor your story in history.
In the following exercise, you will have to create a two different versions of your short story, using one of the historical events listed below. For the sake of preventing copyright infringement, I only used dates that are over a hundred years old.
So, here are today's guidelines!
- Below are six historical dates. Choose at least one you wish to work with
- Using the historical date you have selected, write two different short stories using different approaches:
- Write a story that is realistic, using themes appropriate to the era.
4. The core of the story must revolve around the historical reference.
- July 1st, 1863: Beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg which was fought by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War.
- July 1st, 1867: Canada Day, a national holiday commemorating the confederation of Upper and Lower Canada and some of the Maritime Provinces into the Dominion of Canada.
- July 1, 1893: President Grover Cleveland undergoes a secret cancer surgery aboard a yacht in order to remove a cancerous growth in his mouth. The entire left side of his jaw was removed and replaced with a rubber prosthesis.
- July 4, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, allowing the 13 American colonies to cut their political connections to Great Britain.
- July 4, 1863: The surrender of Vicksburg to General Grant and the Army of the West. With the Union in control of the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in two, cut off from its western allies.
- July 4, 1882: The "Last Great Buffalo Hunt" began on Indian reservation lands near Hettinger, North Dakota as two thousand Teton Sioux Indians killed about five thousand buffalo.
For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit them in a private message to me via facebook, and I will post them here. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries.
Now go! Create! And most importantly, have fun!
Until Next time!