Monday, March 10, 2014

Creating False Realities

Writers create worlds. They imagine something and then weave the words, placing the girders and framework together as the structure of the story for the reader.

"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" is more popularly known as "The Secret of NIMH" which is an excellent example of how a writer creates a world. Take a field mouse, give her a family and let them live in a cinder block as a home.  Add drama as the home may be destroyed by a farmer plowing the field where the block is located.  Add more drama by including rats in a laboratory of an institute.

The reader buys into the first theory and the writer, by artfully weaving the construct of the words, lulls the reader deeper into the story.

Consider the book "Jurassic Park" written by Michael Crichton. He took the concept of blood extraction from a mosquito trapped in amber and wrapped a world around and within it.  Using that idea, he created an industry of cloning. The next step was to take the clones and create an amusement park.

As a writer I enjoy taking tidbits of truth and finding ways to weave fiction around it creating false realities.  Let me give you an example of how that was done with the novel "Ancient Blood: The Amazon" co-written with my buddy, Jack Franklin.

Fact: Illegal deforestation of the Amazon jungle reveals geoglyphs - raised mounds of earth.
Fact: Francisco de Orellana, a conquistador, discovered the Amazon River.
Fact: Gaspar de Carvajal was the Dominican priest to record the trip
Fact: Francisco and Gaspar seemed to have started in the Peruvian area and worked toward the Atlantic and the mouth of the Amazon.
Fact: Two Greek Amazon women, Areto and Iphito, daughters of Hippolyta, disappeared from history.
Fact: ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic concoction of the Amazon tribes
Fact: The natives of Brazil wear very little, including an item called "uluri" for the females.
Fact: Today many native Brazilians are Catholic and very superstitious. Many still cling to their native beliefs
Fact: New tribes of natives are discovered quite often.

There are other facts that we've included in the series to be revealed later.

Using those facts, we added the possibility of discovering a tribe of white women who use gold arrows.  By doing so, we were able to include the old legends of Brazil's past - the City of Z, El Dorado, etc.

Now we add a twist.  Vampires.  A new species based on the original Bram Stoker model.  We created a vampire conquistador who decides to hide in the jungles of the Amazon.  He doesn't sparkle and he is not a vegetarian or particularly enjoying non-human blood.

Toss in a super business - UWF or United World Federation located in Singapore. This company is owned and run by Giovanni Rossi.  He dabbles in many things including exploration.  He brings in one of his best archeologist: Ana Carvalho.

Create a team for her and then send them to the Amazon to research this new found tribe.

Maybe I should mention that there is also a secret society within the Church.  I don't want to reveal everything but the name of the group is TAU or The Order of The High Priest Uriel.

Now we added some romance, a little sex, great details about life in the Brazilian Amazon jungle and released book 1 in a planned series of at least five books.

If you read a book that I've written, you will find that I take actual facts and weave my tale around them and do it well enough that you have difficulty deciding which is fact and which is fiction.  For me, when I read, I love it when an author does that.  I did that for "2012: Timeline Apocalypse" which is a tale based on the supposed "end-of-time" Mayan calendar and takes place in the ruins of Palenque.  By the way, it is still a good read today even though the ending didn't really happen.  My novel "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold" also weaves real facts and locales together with fiction. That particular novel takes place in Washington, DC, Sherwood, OH and Ireland.

I also do that with many of my short stories.  One story I created for a Civil War anthology, I stumbled on a little tidbit about the moon.  I used that fact and spun my tale around it.  I even went to the extent to tie it to an actual battle.

In a current work, I needed an island.  I found one and used it in my rough draft. While doing my research to make sure it would ring accurate I discovered many flaws in my tale.  Suggestions by others was to make it a fake island.  I couldn't, it just didn't ring true to me.  With some extreme and intensive research I was able to make the story work with a minimum of rewriting.

When you, as an author, write a story -- Do you use real facts and then weave a fake reality around them?

Until next I ramble on...

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