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Memoire of a Whistleblower

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Naomi Rey, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Naomi Rey

    Naomi Rey New Member

    I need likeminded brains with whom I can bounce around ideas and questions. I'm almost finished with my first draft (70k words in) and I'm getting ideas of what needs to be worked on during the revision stage.

    It's the Iron Age... the concept "proof" is not what it is during the twenty-first century. There are no fingerprints, blood tests, or forensics. What can I use besides defectors and eye witnesses?

    My main character discovers a breadcrumb trail of elements that bring them to a state of disillusionment in their hero/idol, the antagonist. Weaving while I unravel is so difficult. How do I chose breadcrumbs for the MC to find? How do I decide in which order the breadcrumbs fall?

    The MC's primary concern is "the people" but eventually she chooses to abandon that goal for the safety of her family. How do I reconcile her actions with her priorities? Or do I? Perhaps the complexity of the story is in this dichotomy.

    All advice is appreciated :)
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  2. elemtilas

    elemtilas Sage

    In the ancient world, eye witness account of an honest person was considered definitive. (Consider the Gospel and witness accounts of the New Testament.)

    I find it kind of odd that someone would turn their back on tribe or clan, though. I'm not an expert in Iron Age cultures, but it may be quite the challenge to even conceive of a person abandoning clan for the sake of family. Your clan is the people who've got your back: they're the ones who come running with swords and spears and so forth when you're attacked by wild beasts or enemy people. They're your social structure, your source of food, assistance and society. Turning your back on all that... Wow.
    Naomi Rey likes this.
  3. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    Perhaps the antagonist uses a very particular method to kill someone... or uses a distinctive weapon. Maybe they are known to smoke a certain blend of herbs, or they wear a certain wardrobe item. Anything that might identify a guilty party could be used.
    Naomi Rey likes this.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    >The MC's primary concern is "the people"
    This is what K.M Weiland would call the lie your character believes. She *thinks* the people are are foremost concern, but when the hard choice comes, she chooses family. I'm not quite sure what "the people" means in this context, though.

    As for proof, to whom is she proving? If only to herself, then you are really saying how to prove it to your reader. What will you reveal that will have your reader say "aha, it was him all along"? A classic is a confession--the old detective trick of getting everyone in the room and presenting evidence until the culprit cracks. The reader is right there with you, and of course it's really the reader you must convince. Nothing convinces like confession.

    I can't speak to the Iron Age, we have almost no documentation for this sort of thing. Among the Germanic tribes in Late Antiquity, though, you get trials of a sort--trial by combat, trial by ordeal, but most often simply an attestation by the disputants. Greeks and Romans did something similar, with juries of scores or even hundreds, and the lawyers on both sides deploying all their rhetorical skills to win over what was essentially an audience. Not sure how that would play in text, though.

    As for the breadcrumbs themselves, don't you already have that, with 75k written? That's certainly the tricky part--how to drop clues that are convincing (to the reader) and how to have your hero find them in a way that is convincing (to the reader).
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