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#1
Hoi,

I was just wondering, whether there are any SUCCESSFULL novelists who have written novels based on certain "knowledge-requiring" themes without actually knowing that much. Of course it depends on how meticulous and realistic you want the novels to be. But take novelists like George R R Martin with the song of ice and fire. He seems to have lots of history knowledge because he writes a lot about medieval statecraft, titles like liege, lord, the king's hand, handmaid, master of coin etc so it is obvious he knows alot about the Middle Ages.

So in short, given you have interesting stories to tell and the ability to keep your book diverse and immersive from the start to the end, is it possible to prosper with writing even if you don't have much knowledge on certain things like the judicial system of the era, meticulous knowledge on the culture of the era etc..?

Not sure if I'm being clear enough here but we'll see.
Last edited by Billie_J at Nov 18, 2016,
#2
Characters and plot are the core of the story. You create an internally consistently world with a compelling plot and interesting characters, and it doesn't matter how historically accurate your story is.

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#3
Just look at "medieval", game of thrones, vikings, the witcher, LOTR, harry potter-esque victorian, etc is so played-out already. They all create their own history.

If you're going to write a book or short stoires, do something fresh and new and interesting, so people actually read it.
just my opinion. Make things up, create your own history. It's never really about our human historical knowledge anyways, it's more about the style and themes you're bringing in. If you have awesome, fleshed out characters that intertwine perfectly in a very nice story and setting, with goals, etc, the historical backdrop of our universe has very little to do with how good it can turn out.
#4
Quote by Billie_J
Hoi,

I was just wondering, whether there are any SUCCESSFULL novelists who have written novels based on certain "knowledge-requiring" themes without actually knowing that much. Of course it depends on how meticulous and realistic you want the novels to be. But take novelists like George R R Martin with the song of ice and fire. He seems to have lots of history knowledge because he writes a lot about medieval statecraft, titles like liege, lord, the king's hand, handmaid, master of coin etc so it is obvious he knows alot about the Middle Ages.

So in short, given you have interesting stories to tell and the ability to keep your book diverse and inmersive from the start to the end, is it possible to prosper with writing even if you don't have much knowledge on certain things like the judicial system of the era, meticulous knowledge on the culture of the era etc..?

Not sure if I'm being clear enough here but we'll see.
'King's Hand' and 'Master of Coin' aren't historical titles of office. For example, during the reign of Henry VIII, much of the duties of GRRM's Master of Coin were taken by Thomas Wolsey, the Archbishop of Cantebury. For reference, this would be much like the High Septon becoming Master of Coin in ASOIAF.

Essentially, unless you're setting your stories in a real historical context, you just need to understand the roles being played, and make up the titles yourself. The important thing is that you're consistent within the world you create. Though that doesn't mean that everyone in your story always knows what they're talking about, even if they're absolutely sure they're right.
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#5
I see. And a thing which I have been wondering is spelling. I'm not talking about words but dots, hyphens, colons etc...

Were I to write in English the first problem would be the fact that the use of colons, quotation marks and dots (and many more) differ drastically if not completely from my native language.
#6
Quote by Billie_J
I see. And a thing which I have been wondering is spelling. I'm not talking about words but dots, hyphens, colons etc...

Were I to write in English the first problem would be the fact that the use of colons, quotation marks and dots (and many more) differ drastically if not completely from my native language.


You'll just have to get a proofreader in that case

longing rusted furnace daybreak seventeen benign nine homecoming one freight car
#7
Depends why you're writing. If the historical setting is germane to your point, if you're covering a specific part of history, then do your research. If the setting is purely symbolic, you can invent shit to suit your purposes. What I'd recommend is you read about the period you're covering anyway. Never know if something jumps out as usable.


But more than that you should be reading about storytelling rather than looking for accuracy. I recommend this as a starting point: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Dramatic-Writing-Creative-Interpretation/dp/9562915867

Quote by Billie_J
I see. And a thing which I have been wondering is spelling. I'm not talking about words but dots, hyphens, colons etc...

Were I to write in English the first problem would be the fact that the use of colons, quotation marks and dots (and many more) differ drastically if not completely from my native language.

Don't worry about this stuff. Even if English were your first language plenty of people either abuse or underuse punctuation. It should only take you a day or two to familiarize yourself with that.
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Last edited by ali.guitarkid7 at Nov 18, 2016,
#9
Nah, you can't write a work of fiction that didn't actually happen. It's illegal and I'm reporting you to the authorities.
#10
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No, that's cultural appropriation.
You can't culturally appropriate from whitey, because everything they call culture was stolen from elsewhere.

He'd be reclaiming.
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#11
You don't have to call it medieval themed.

GRRMs world is loosely based on medieval Europe.
Tolkiens Middle Earth was completely made up.

GRRMs is real political if you notice there's not much through the eyes of commonfolk, it's all through the eyes of the ruling class so the politics and government need to be fleshed out pretty thourough.

In fantasy there has come to be an expectation for there to be deep world building though. I can't think of any recent success that didn't have a complete world mapped out.
Last edited by EyeNon15 at Nov 18, 2016,
#13
Texas writes history textbooks with no knowledge of history so why the hell not?
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#14
Quote by Billie_J
Hoi,

I was just wondering, whether there are any SUCCESSFULL novelists who have written novels based on certain "knowledge-requiring" themes without actually knowing that much. Of course it depends on how meticulous and realistic you want the novels to be. But take novelists like George R R Martin with the song of ice and fire. He seems to have lots of history knowledge because he writes a lot about medieval statecraft, titles like liege, lord, the king's hand, handmaid, master of coin etc so it is obvious he knows alot about the Middle Ages.

So in short, given you have interesting stories to tell and the ability to keep your book diverse and immersive from the start to the end, is it possible to prosper with writing even if you don't have much knowledge on certain things like the judicial system of the era, meticulous knowledge on the culture of the era etc..?

Not sure if I'm being clear enough here but we'll see.


Lol, were you the one that posted something like this in /lit/ not too long ago?
.
#16
Hey this is a nice thread.
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#17
Medieval is nice because there are so many themes that you have literally hundreds of years of ideas or tropes that are all amalgamated into a common idea of what all existed at pretty much the same time.

I'm writing a period piece about a very specific time and set of events and the research never ends. Ever.


Ever.


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Lol, were you the one that posted something like this in /lit/ not too long ago?


LEAVE 4CHAN ON 4CHAN. Jesus, you're breaking it's only fucking real rule. Anonymity loses all it's purpose and meaning if you keep posting it here over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

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Last edited by JustRooster at Nov 19, 2016,
#19
Quote by EyeNon15
You don't have to call it medieval themed.

GRRMs world is loosely based on medieval Europe.
Tolkiens Middle Earth was completely made up.

GRRMs is real political if you notice there's not much through the eyes of commonfolk, it's all through the eyes of the ruling class so the politics and government need to be fleshed out pretty thourough.

In fantasy there has come to be an expectation for there to be deep world building though. I can't think of any recent success that didn't have a complete world mapped out.
True.

Of course, it doesn't need detail; but it's the consistency that matters. If, at the start, you have a character flaunting their wealth by giving their wife a necklace made of moonstones from Faroffistan, remember that's where moonstones come from if they crop up later.

It's not necessary to know about Faroffistan in detail, but you've planted some ideas about the wider world in the reader's mind.
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#20
slapsymcdougal Yep. It seems this indeed is possible w/o loads of history knowledge. What I also started thinking (which is a bit off-topic but who cares) is the characters you create. Whenever you create a character or better, when a novelist take GRRM creates a new character, do they actually figure out "perfectly" what the characters would look like? And I'm not talking about imagining an anime character or a character that our sense of reality could not accept (for example Homer Simpson comes knocking at your door). I'm talking about "real" human faces. Let me elaborate. Characters in A song of ice and fire are fictional yet most if not all human characters could really exist excluding all that magic stuff etc.

So should a novelist perfectly imagine all the characters they create from head to toes and to make it even harder, the novelist would have to imagine unique, individual appearances meaning that the characters should not be influenced (by appearance) by any fictional or real beings. Or do novelists just give the characters "lookabouts" (just invented a new word) like hair color, eye color, fair of face, comely, short, muscular, bearded, characteristics, tendencies and more? I personally would go with the latter. And now when you start to think of it, all the readers would have their own points of views on how the characters look like. So even if no one imagines the characters and their detailed appearances (I'm talking about the "perfect" appearance previously mentioned), there would still be different visions on the looks. Some might think a long hair is a 3 metre long Super Sayan 3 Goku's hair and some might think it is similar to Geralt's hair (From the Witcher). So overall it's inevitable that people will give the characters facial features similar to the people they know in real life or from games, movies or even other books.

This reply is long and messy but again WHO CARES
Last edited by Billie_J at Nov 19, 2016,
#21
I would suspect the smart thing to do is have separate documents for your character descriptions, and keep them for your own reference. It's true, people will interpret what you write.

For example, with GRRM:

Ned Stark on the Iron Throne, from the show promo stuff



But this is the image GRRM says is the closest to how he imagines the Iron throne:




The important thing when describing scenes and characters is that it doesn't disrupt the flow of your 'scene'. So, if you've got a character making an abrupt entrance, maybe that's not the time to talk about the symbolism of his heraldry, or the precise details of his sabatons. On the other hand, if the King is making a ceremonial entrance, then that's a good time to go into depth on what he looks like, and so on.
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#23
Quote by metaldud536
I think you should look up some of it, not to be historically accurate but to get some inspiration and ideas for when you write your own.
Yea. The thing is, you don't need to know to get started, and to give your character arcs shape, but it will help polish it.
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#24
Imo GRRM can sometimes drone on a little too much with descriptions. Especially with food, every meal is described in way too much detail. Every drink every desert every side dish. Food porn is his weakness
#25
Quote by EyeNon15
Imo GRRM can sometimes drone on a little too much with descriptions. Especially with food, every meal is described in way too much detail. Every drink every desert every side dish. Food porn is his weakness


Funny that.

Think it has anything to do with the fact he probably hasn't seen his dick in 20 years?
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#26
Currently the problem I'm facing is medieval clothing. I mean the Internet always gives me bs sites that don't tell anything or if they do it's only pictures. I pretty much have no idea of the names. Velvets, collars, overtunic, trousers, coifs.. Who wears them, poor or the rich? If I was to write a scene of hunters, how would I describe the clothing if I'm not sure of the names? And yes making up names for chestplates etc is a way to go but I still need the basic understanding of the most basic of medieval clothing. Any sites to look up?
#27
Quote by Billie_J
Currently the problem I'm facing is medieval clothing. I mean the Internet always gives me bs sites that don't tell anything or if they do it's only pictures. I pretty much have no idea of the names. Velvets, collars, overtunic, trousers, coifs.. Who wears them, poor or the rich? If I was to write a scene of hunters, how would I describe the clothing if I'm not sure of the names? And yes making up names for chestplates etc is a way to go but I still need the basic understanding of the most basic of medieval clothing. Any sites to look up?
OK...wikipedia is a good place to start for stuff like this. Google image searches may be beneficial as well.

If possible, look and see if there's anything like this to view at a museum not to far away from you. There may well be someone there that you can talk to about a lot of this stuff.

As a general rule, though - stuff like velvet and silk are luxury items. Rich people will own them, and possibly dress servants in them, just to show off how rich they are. Some servants may be given gifts of worn or stained velvet or silk; it's pretty much the only way people without money will get hold of the stuff.

Tunics, shirts, drawers, trousers, hose - most everyone will wear this kind of thing. Wool and linen for the most part; some will be leather. The big difference between the rich and the poor will be in the fabric quality, and decoration. Rich people will likely have fancier dyes, may use materials like velvet or silk as trim, or - if they're very rich - might wear a tunic that's all silk.

A coif is basically a loose-fitting cap. Covers the top, sides and back of the head. However, a coif is also a name for a piece of armour - usually mail - that covers those parts of the head, and will often drape over the shoulders, so as to cover the neck as well.
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#28
Look up clothing directors from medieval themed movies and shoot off an email to see if they'll answer your questions.

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#29
Quote by JustRooster
Look up clothing directors from medieval themed movies and shoot off an email to see if they'll answer your questions.
That too. There's probably also behind the scenes stuff from the costumes department of things like GoT and LotR and so on. Historical reenactment societies might be worth a look too.
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#30
Quote by JustRooster
Medieval is nice because there are so many themes that you have literally hundreds of years of ideas or tropes that are all amalgamated into a common idea of what all existed at pretty much the same time.

I'm writing a period piece about a very specific time and set of events and the research never ends. Ever.


Ever.


LEAVE 4CHAN ON 4CHAN. Jesus, you're breaking it's only fucking real rule. Anonymity loses all it's purpose and meaning if you keep posting it here over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.


Rules 1 and 2 only apply to /b/.

And you're prone to exaggerating how much I refer to chans. Only times I usually bring it up is during US election politics, and that is because they truly do hold relevance in that aspect. You need to get the fuck off my dick, Rooster.
.
Last edited by Fat Lard at Nov 19, 2016,
#31
And TS, really? Writing a book with a theme you know nothing about? And to base it on something like how successful it could be, to crank out some new shitty book that probably doesn't make any sense, as if we needed another Game of fucking Thrones? Why not make a hip hop album about the hardcore streets of Finland instead?
.
Last edited by Fat Lard at Nov 19, 2016,
#33
the helpful posts in here got it pretty good (ie not Fat Lard's)

i think historically accurate info on little things like clothing and terminology, etc are not entirely necessary to write something set in a specific time, but it does add a lot to the ambiance or whatever you wanna call it. not everyone will notice it, but small shit like "jail" being spelled "gaol" for Bloodborne is a nice little addition.

you can always leave yourself notes as you're writing and come back to change things later once you've done the research and found an appropriate source.
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#34
As long as you call it fantasy you arent bound by any real history rules.
If you try to call it historical fiction, which asoiaf isn't then you really need to know your shit.

Still would help a lot to know real history. From warfare, to fashion, to whatever you are writing about.
Last edited by EyeNon15 at Nov 19, 2016,
#35
Quote by Fat Lard
Rules 1 and 2 only apply to /b/.

And you're prone to exaggerating how much I refer to chans. Only times I usually bring it up is during US election politics, and that is because they truly do hold relevance in that aspect. You need to get the fuck off my dick, Rooster.



I like the part where you edited out where you called me a newfag. Pro-Tip: Bullies only ever want a reaction.

Quote by EyeNon15
Thats too bad, I was under the impression I was arguing something profound


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#36
Quote by EyeNon15
As long as you call it fantasy you arent bound by any real history rules.
If you try to call it historical fiction, which asoiaf isn't then you really need to know your shit.

Still would help a lot to know real history. From warfare, to fashion, to whatever you are writing about.
The big thing is that using 'correct' terms for items of clothing and so on means there's a common frame of reference between writer and reader.

ASOIAF is fantasy, but GRRM doesn't go around calling a gown a 'threepfwiffle'.
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#37
Quote by JustRooster
Pro-Tip: Bullies only ever want a reaction.

Completely wrong. Bullies will only amplify their shitty behaviors if you passively ignore them.

t. was bullied harshly for quite some time in middle school
.
#38
Quote by slapsymcdougal
The big thing is that using 'correct' terms for items of clothing and so on means there's a common frame of reference between writer and reader.

ASOIAF is fantasy, but GRRM doesn't go around calling a gown a 'threepfwiffle'.



He does use a lot of terms that will be unfamiliar to the average american. I didn't know what the fuck a dublet was for example.

I just meant if you create the world you can have knights wear armor but then wear togas off duty if you want.
#39
Quote by EyeNon15
He does use a lot of terms that will be unfamiliar to the average american. I didn't know what the fuck a dublet was for example.

I just meant if you create the world you can have knights wear armor but then wear togas off duty if you want.
Yes, but the average American didn't give a shit about ASOIAF until they saw a poster with Sean Bean on a chair made of swords. And even then, they waited for the TV show.
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