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Advice

I am writing an epic fantasy story. It is set in modern times but because of a disaster different countries have been cut off and are responding differently to the catastrophe. At some stage they will all meet up and get engaged in the adventure. However people keep getting obsessed with the idea that the story is set in the past just because of the role of the protagonist. I have put in clues like electricity but people keep ignoring it. I keep making changes but it seems to make no difference. Should I change the timeframe?
 

Righmath

Minstrel
What makes people think it is set in the past perhaps?
I sent this too soon; I was going to add perhaps reference to modern political entities. Perhaps mention how the UN or the EU fell. Or would that not work with what you're writing?
 

pmmg

Vala
How far along is it? I find it hard to imagine i would think a story in the past and not think clues like electricy and known nations are out of place. What is she a priestess of?
 

pmmg

Vala
I would say keep writing and put in more clues as to the time period. Maybe she visits a walmart.
 

pmmg

Vala
Sorry, I was in a little bit a of a rush this morning, so I was a little terse.

I guess, first I would say, if this is to show our world after a huge event, a priestess of life and death, would probably not be as prominent as many other religious leaders. I am sure not all the Catholics were killed off... So to have such a priestess would get me to start asking where has this religion been, and how could this come about? A priestess does carry more of a connotation of fantasy and pagan undertones, but not impossible. But if the clues were there, such as there was electricity, and the ruins of a walmart, it would be hard for me to not start wondering why this is being mis-read in such a way. Since I've not read any of it, I can only surmise that the clues must not be strong enough. I think this could be handled with more world building and more inclusion of anachronistic items. Maybe some one she travels with checks her cell phone a lot, or is still wearing their walmart uniform. Or maybe they visit places with lots of sky scrapers touching the sky....statue of liberty gets a lot play for showing the state of things in disaster movies.

But I wonder how far along you are in this. If you are on page 10, and they are not getting it, is not the same as on page 200 and not getting it. Is this a completed work? And if its not, I would suggest you dont seek any readers until it is.

Otherwise, I have to fall back on, the clues must be missing. You will need to add more showing of the world to get it...or info dump it. Maybe the book cover can show some city landscape to drive it home.
 

TWErvin2

Auror
Not all remnants of civilization would be eliminated, I would imagine, even after a catostrophic event.

I have a series that is set 1500 or so years in the future, where magic and magical creatures exists and what had gone (civilization's collapse) before is largely forgotten by many (if not most) people, but there are still influences (and some kingdoms/nations) that are working to rebuild or at least use/exploit previous engineering and technology. Even religions common today exist in isolated areas in that fictional future.

There are many ways to go about it. Surviving structures or rare devices, preserved books, names of cities the same built upon the ruins of the previous, with elements of the past showing through, tales of the past that echo previous fallen civilization/cultures, etc. You do not have to hit the reader over the head. Let them discover it as the story unfolds through clues in context. That would likely be far more interesting to the reader, unless it is vital that things like electricity's existance (or knowledge of), is necessary to the plot.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
Sometimes you just have to be blunt and spell things out. Now, having said that, sometimes people can be ummm... kind of blunt in a different way. You have to keep in mind who the feedback is coming from. Some people just don't get fantasy/scifi and just don't pick things up. I once had someone give me flack for using the word "helm" in a fantasy story in a medieval setting because they didn't know what a helm was. Fair enough but...
 
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