I was coming up with an idea in my story when I started thinking about creative license. Being a writer of fiction, I readily use my artistic license to bend stories to my liking. Some changes are huge and others can be quite small. One would think the bigger changes in the fabric of the reality woven in my stories would be more of an issue than the smaller ones. However, I’m starting to believe the latter is more troublesome for writers to convey to their readers.
Look at the two beautiful ladies in the images above. The young woman, shown on your left, is a Padong, which is a sub-group of the Karen people that resides in Kayah state of eastern Burma on the Thailand border.
The women of this tribe compress their vertebrae and collar bones with the placement of rings around their necks, giving the illusion of their necks being longer than normal. A tribes-woman commonly has about twenty or more rings around her neck. They usually start the process when the girls are around the age of five.
The older woman to your right is a part of the Chin tribe. They live in remote parts of Western Myanmar; their population of up to 2.5 million is composed of over 50 ethnic groups that speak around forty related but distinct languages. Face tattooing for girls and women of the tribe is common practice. In the Chin culture it’s seen as a decorative form of art and an identifier of ethnicities in their tribal societies. It also serves as a representation of age and social and marital status.
Now that you have a background of the reality of these two women, I’m going to change some huge factors in their cultures.
It’s the year of 3043 and the younger woman is now from a race of people called the Fenri from an unknown galaxy that comes to earth under the guise of peace. The older woman is from the Nerobi people that come from the same unknown galaxy, but these people aren’t interested in staying on our planet. Their only focus is to protect us from the havoc the Fenri will soon cause to us and our world. Who will win; the ferocious Fenri or the oracle-like Nerobi people? It soon becomes a game of cat and mouse with humankind’s fate hanging in the balance.
Most people wouldn’t have any qualms with this scenario. If anything they would talk on how human the aliens looked and if that played a factor in the storyline. The second example is when I make way smaller changes.
It’s the year of 1975 and the younger woman is from the newly founded Chin tribe where there are three different but distinct languages. The rings around their necks are worn to protect them since they’re born with extremely long, weak necks. They live in harmony with their sister tribe, the Padong. This tribe is recognized by their facial tattoos. However, this peace they have found is new just like their home in Thailand. They both originated from the city of New York where city life was their way of survival. Can they keep up their tranquil existence in this fairly new landscape or will they find their way back to city living?
Wow, I’m happy I don’t have to write that story.
I believe the consensus on this tale would be it was a huge stinker. People would assume the writer’s research skills were non-existent and they had no idea what they were talking about. If the writer then tried to claim artistic license, people would just repeat that the writer was wrong and they should admit that they didn’t know their facts in the first place.
Of course there are stories that do a great job with making alternative realities, but that is usually the whole point of the story in the first place.
That seems a bit unfair, because both references are examples of artistic license. So why wouldn’t they both be accepted?
I guess things that we find ingrained in our everyday reality are harder to see switched around for no good reason, even if it makes the person story play out better. Unless, we as writers can change your mind. *Wink, wink*
Happy Monday everyone!