Advice on My Historical WIP

Hey guys, I have been bashing my skull on the path forward for my WIP story and I need some help on a few pointers. I have already finished writing the first chapter but I am still unsure how to progress the story.

The story is about the MC and his/her four other friends who are sent back in time by a witch in order to solve her puzzle. At first I wanted the narrative setting to be in medieval Europe but I am sick of kings and knights in games already. So I decided to let it take place in the East, it is be inspired by the historical culture of China, Ming dynasty era, and Korea (Josean dynasty). It is not actually going to take place in these countries because I thought of the difficulty in trying to write about a MC in a different gender because
of the strong gender roles in this time. So that is the basic premise of the story.

There are two issues: social role the MC plays and the culture shock and interaction the group has with the world. Before the MC and his/her friends are sent back in time, there was a festival in their town where each of the characters dressed up in ancient attire. You, the MC, happen to dress up as a scholar. So basically, when you go back in time the people around you will think that you are a scholar (to make things simple). But I want to know how deep should I make this role. Should the MC use their modern knowledge to solve problems in the past to impress the high nobility, royal and common folk.This could be proving the heliocentric model to better predict the movement of planets or mathematics, by proving theorems. Of course I can go very light on this and just skim over the details. Also, how concerned should the MC be about effecting the future? I think this could be an individual choice.

Secondly is the culture shock. I want the MC and their friends to be shocked of the ancient life. First from the language they speak. Just imagine going back to the Middle Ages when the English the people of England spoke then will be foreign to us and vise versa. How about social norms? Of course magic will come along and help them understand what is said and be able to read texts and stuff but I am not sure whether I should include this culture shock part. Or how deep I must go.

I know what I would think and feel if I went back in time but I cannot just inflate my own reactions and pretend it will be norm. I want to know how you will act in this situation. What problems do you think you will face in this scenario? Many historical games here already take for granted the MC has assimilated in society, I want the MC to be like a foreigner in the own home country. Will you miss home and be desperate to return?

I guess that is the jist of what I am trying to find out. Sorry for the bombarding of questions:joy:


On cultural shock - keep it fair when they land they should face a wave of cultural shock and it would be good that you would give us choices how to deal with certain situations with choices that lead to culture shocks ( minor but noticeable )

Changing future - Make a stat to track how much MC have changed the future and of certain scientific developments s
And incorporate them in the story

Make a path where people think we are witches or warlocks or demons alongside where they think we are angels , gods , messiahs ( that would be quite fun I think )

Hi Darkner,

I’ll provide my takes on this project but realize they are just my opinion so you can go in any direction if you feel differently.

First off: I like the idea of a author-developed storyverse. This will allow you much more flexibility and also allow for more author-license as well.

Re: English speaking - Why not have the Witch’s spell do translation both on listening and speaking to others. Many time-traveling and alternative-universe books and short stories I read do this, for sake of time development of the plot and the story itself. I see you are already fleshing this part out - sorry to rehash it in the reply.

Using modern knowledge (or more advanced knowledge) is a wonderful choice you can use - with the consequences being felt later in the story. You can also give the choice of using knowledge that isn’t modern-day but still better then exists there. For example - develop a steam engine or a internal combustion (gas or diesel) engine … with consequences being different to both.

When I write details in my prose, I tend to ask: what is the minimal details needed to get the entire idea communicated… and any other I feel might be wanted or needed I look to put into a separated entry in the stats named: glossary/encyclopedia … this way those interested can look at the more in-depth information and those that just want to get on with the story can as well. A really good example of this is: Divided We Fall which has a demo in the Hosted library if needed.

This should match your aims of the story … if you want to show that people did such-and-such then and try to get the reader to think on why, you might need to go into more detail. The flow of the story should be paramount though. With proper structure and flow, the story itself will allow whatever ultimate purposes you have to be conveyed in a natural and accepted way. If your heavy on “rail-roading” the reader into actions and forcing thoughts on them through your prose, your gamers might rebel against your story.

Concentrate on your structure and flow of the story and the rest should fall into place.

Well, there is the question: how well would the average person actually know the subjects at hand? If you went back to ancient Greece, and told them that the Earth went around the Sun, you’d find that:

a. You’re not the first person to suggest this, although it is a minority view.

b. More importantly, you don’t have the technology to prove this point, unless you’re a master telescope-maker (and you wouldn’t be able to learn the skills after having gone back in time).

All in all, you might end up just like an Epicurus or da Vinci, with ideas that seem remarkably modern today, but without obviously being out of your time.

A steam engine is one of the few things that a modern person (of reasonable intelligence) could realistically “invent” in the past, as it’s simple and easy to understand (without much in the way of technological prerequisites), but it’s also a very important breakthrough.


@DUNGEON_MASTER I like the idea of a stat that tracks how much the future changed because of the MC, now I need to think of consistent system that will reasonably show it. Maybe I should use a percentage bar, as it increases the more the future changes. Also the MC has to know the events, at least some, that will happen.

@Eiwynn No problem rehashing the English speaking thing, at least we are thinking alike. While it is interesting to think of inventing the steam engine, that will take a lot of brain power. The MC is like a final year senior in high school. I wanted to create like a slice of life story theme in it. They do study in a private institution though but anyways that will have to be a far away goal because even MC has to learn some stuff. Thanks for the advice of concentrating on my structure, I guess it is very important.

@ParrotWatcher I grew up loving astronomy and I kind of want to imbue part of that love into the MC to be like knowledgeable in these things. Heliocentric model had a lot of push back to it. A powerful telescope? Yes and no, I guess. Tycho Brahe did not use a telescope to record his astronomical observation which Kepler later used to solidify his model of the sun being in the center of the solar system. But I understand what you mean.


Also, consider using “fair math” when adjusting the variable as well. It will regulate the total to never go above 100% or below 0%

True, but Brahe’s model was geocentric. At the time, there was no evidence for the heliocentric model (since Galileo’s attempt to observe parallax failed, and this is why you’d need the good telescopes), just evidence against the Ptolemaic model (Venus passed both in front of and behind the Sun), which was fixed by Brahe’s geocentric model, as well as the heliocentric Copernican and Keplerian models. There was also no scientific reason why one model was preferable to another (since Newton was still a few decades away from being born, let alone theorising about gravity).

One might even say that the absence of any observable parallax was actually evidence for geocentrism, since the stars appeared to be far closer than they actually are, due to resolution limits (something that wasn’t quantified until two hundred years later).


Sounds exciting. I’d love to see how the MC deals with royalty considering how strict ancient eastern society was when it comes to hierarchy.

My advise: research, research, research. You might want to watch saegeuk dramas as well.

As for modern knowledge, well… the MC would likely have a hard time with that since the methods of that time are considered “advanced”. You might also want to play a bit of court politics. Also, you’d have to be well-versed in confucian teachings since joseon scholars are expected to be quite adept at that.

Good luck and looking forward to your story.

@Eiwynn Okay, I’ll try it out.

While I will agree that conclusive scientific evidence was not present to disqualify on model over the other, I would not say there was no evidence to support the Keplerian model so to speak. Stellar parallax could not be seen since you do need a powerful telescope and also the celestial object be far away enough so that the parallax is noticeable. There were a number of things the Keplerian had that Ptolemaic did not have. First, just as Kepler found when trying to analyse Brahe’s observational data of Mars orbit, is that that it fit the data. Secondly it did explain why planets speed varied at different times which Kepler’s model could easily explain. Newton’s ideas of motion helped in predicted the position of the planets at any given time and gave us the force of gravity. To undermine Ptolemaic model one needs to observe that Jupiter has moons orbiting around it and not the sun, as you would expect from Ptolemaic model, and observe the phases of Venus to show that Venus has to be orbiting the sun. Granted, you need a telescope for this but not necessarily a powerful one, a testament of Galileo’s telescope.

@Mari_Gold I am obsessed with saegeuk drama already and korean drama in general. Eastern culture is so different from Western view point, the emphasis on family and hierarchy are quite something. Court politics will be definitely be included. I think I have watched quite a lot of saegeuk drama to get a fill on how it might have been like in the past.

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Sure, I’m completely agreed on that, but as I already pointed out, the Ptolemaic model wasn’t the one that Kepler had to compete against. Brahe’s geocentric model also had Venus orbiting the Sun (thus explaining its phases), and certainly didn’t prevent moons around Jupiter, while also keeping the Church happy and fitting the observations of no parallax, by keeping the Earth stationary. Sure, the mathematics involved (circles within circles) was much more complex than Kepler’s, but that was what astronomers had been doing with Ptolemy’s model already, and without gravity, there was no scientific reason why the model should have been heliocentric.

Obviously, I’m not saying that Kepler was wrong, but rather that simply going back in time with a knowledge of his laws would probably not be as paradigm-shifty as one might assume.

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My gosh @ParrotWatcher, you are one hard nut to crack. I am very reluctant to give the MC a powerful telescope to prove a stellar parallax so the only other way I can think of that might satisfy you is deriving Newton’s formula of gravity. This will mean that the MC must “discover” calculus and prove that Kepler’s elliptical orbits can be explained by Newton’s equations of motion and gravity. Thus the MC can find the precise elliptical paths of the planets and have a theory of gravity. And since gravity will be shown to exist, the Tychonic model will have to fall apart.I hope this is enough to satisfy.

Really? Not to be sarcastic or anything but why will a steam engine be realistically simple to invent. Maybe I am a simpleton because if I were to go back in time right now, I would not be able to invent a steam engine.

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That sounds perfect, yes! :grin:

(Sorry, I didn’t mean to cause such a fuss; I’m just quite interested in this particular paradigm shift. ;P)

Sorry; I guess I meant “of reasonable intelligence and with a reasonable knowledge of steam engines”, and obviously not everyone will know about them. I was referring mainly to the ancient Greek steam engine, which wouldn’t have needed more than a metal bowl, plate, and ball, plus a few bent pipes (and water and fire):

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