September 27, 2011


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.
F Trope: medievalism
We all know it’s in good fun. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is gearing up for the 2011 season, which will run weekends from August 20 through October 2. It’s the largest Renaissance Festival in the United States and expects to draw a quarter-of-a-million people!
The Largest is by no means the only. In 2011, there are going to be a total of 230 festivals, faires, gatherings, games and days.
Anyone who has never head of Robert Jordan’s WHEEL OF TIME books or any other of the thousands of “knock offs” that take place in some “mythical”, medievaloid, Godless/godsfull “Land” or “Shire” or “Kingdom” or “Dukedom” or “Dumbdom” has been living on a different planet – what with the books having been translated into 24 or 28 languages (depending on whether you listen to the OFFICIAL site (24 in 2010) or the other site (28 in 2009). lists 801 books when you type in “sword and sorcery novels” and I’m sure it’s missing some.
The discrepancies when 21st Century people go to and enjoy the “fun” of 15 Century England and the actual conditions and socioeconomic reality of that time are immense. The discrepancies are illustrated here:
“A police officer and a man in a kilt and boots walk side by side. Not far away, a pirate is talking on a cell phone…period actors, who are dressed in elaborate costumes. More than a few of the visitors go as pirates, a la Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’…A couple years ago it was ‘Lord of the Rings.’ Organizers work hard to create the illusion of 15th-century France. But in the beverage tent, the 21st century comes through loud and clear. ‘Two Aquafinas, please,’ said a pirate with a sweaty brow.”1
But the socioeconomic REALITY of that time period is something most writers ignore – completely. For your story today, I’d like you to take an average high school student from an URBAN high school (you can go “first ring suburb” if you insist) and fling them back in time (magically) and send them on a wizard quest to find someone who is a product of his time and NOT enlightened like Gandalf! DON’T use LORD OF THE RINGS or WHEEL OF TIME as your basis, but THIS: or this

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