Wednesday, 25 September 2013

On Adapting Modern Stories

Previously, I have spoken on the subject of entertainment at events, and in particular mentioned that modern stories can be adapted for telling at events, with a few (relatively minor) changes. There are often many stories which seem to be impossible to tell without their modern details, but almost always, this is not so, it just requires some care.

Let us take the example of speaking of an interesting morning before the feast you are now attending. For a modern audience, you may mention speaking to your sister on the phone, driving to various shops before driving to the event, with some car troubles on the way (let us say a blown tyre). The phone, the car, and other such small details, can all seem rather pivotal to the story, but it isn't so. Speaking to your sister is possible without the phone, just so long as you also don't mention how far away they currently are. Likewise with the car, what is important to the story is that you travelled, not how, so just leaving out that it was a car will do. Period wagons often had wheel troubles, and a cracked wagon wheel may be quite like a blown car tyre.

Most of the modern details of such anecdotes are really a sideline to the real action, and can usually be left out. For those which absolutely can't? Perhaps this is not a story that needs telling at an event. For example, if you are a computer technician, and there was a particularly engrossing problem which required your attention, you may either discuss it in general terms and focus on your frustrations, or leave the story for another time.

One thing I would beg you to avoid, however, are those gross circumlocutions which are more appropriate for a fantasy novel or LARP. If you would avoid the word "toilet", then "privy" is acceptable (some period English alternatives are "Jakes" - the predecessor to "John" I suppose - and "House of Easement" - which sounds downright relaxing). Please avoid "the Shrine of Our Lady of the Swirling Waters". Likewise, "car" may be replaced with "wain" or "wagon", but never "dragon".

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