Inspired by History

BBC History magazine Nov 2014 Grid by AdS
BBC History Magazine 11/2014 Grid by AdS

One of the most wonderful resources I use for blog inspiration is history.

Books, encyclopedias, and magazines filled with stories and facts about earlier times can give my imagination plenty to blog about.

For example:

*You can take an event and change the outcome of a war, change the fate of a ruler, or recreate the world.

*You can speculate about someone’s character, why they made certain decisions, and wonder what the world would be like if Napoleon was not defeated at Waterloo or what would have happened if Tutankhamun had led a long life and successful reign.

*The microwave was discovered by accident. How has that appliance changed your life or the way you cook and prepare food?

*Do you know how long you had to sit still for a photograph in earlier times? If you had no camera on your mobile phone would that change how often you update some of your social media profiles?

*Imagine being a scribe and sitting still copying text without heating or AC, without your favourite gel pen, and no coffee maker at your side. Which body part would start to hurt first? Their backs, their neck, their hands? I can see a story here about a rebellious scribe demanding a cushion to sit on and extra cloaks to stay warm! Not getting any, he starts to change the text. Very subtle changes to rewrite part of history…

I took a few pictures from the BBC History Magazine from November 2014 and turned them into a grid image (click to enlarge).

On the right is an interesting pieces about how the long bow was used in successful military tactical decisions. As an archer, that is interesting to read. You can make several stories out of this one article comparing weapons, military strategies, ammunition, and their evolution through the decades, etc.

1932 statue of Sir Ernest Shackleton outside the London headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society
1932 statue of Sir Ernest Shackleton outside the London headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society

On the left in the grid picture is a part about Shackleton. Shackleton was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Now this should inspire stories about adventure, bravery, sacrifice, and other issues such as global warming, the melting of the ice caps, the polar bears, and rising sea levels. You can write mystery flash fiction  or a short story involving a corrupt charity misleading  people and sponsors claiming their expeditions are more (or less) successful. The donations are not used for safety equipment for the expedition members but funnels right into the accounts of various people of dubious repute. However, unbeknownst to the organizers the oldest son of one of their own has signed up to prove to his father he is strong and worthy to take over the company. A frantic search party now tries to retrace their steps to safe the original expedition team…

Less of a fiction blogger? Compare expeditions from back then to what we know now, our knowledge of the Antarctic, changes in communication equipment, and even the ever-present question:

would you eat a dead teammate if that was your only way to survive?  

That reminds me of the 1972 Andes flight disaster. Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 was a charter flight with on board 45 people including a rugby union team travelling with their friends and families. The plane crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972.

More than a quarter of the passengers died in the crash. Others succumbed to cold and their injuries.

Twenty-seven survived for a few days after the crash. Then another eight died in an avalanche that wrecked their shelter. The last 16 survivors were rescued on December 23, 1972, more than two months after the plane crash. What went through their heads?

In short, shake up your blogging routine and write something inspired by history!

3 thoughts on “Inspired by History

  1. Some of the weirdest things I’ve read about actually happened-that’s the great thing about history. As a non-fiction writer I have similar thoughts about the people involved in the things I write about. I try to get into their head and imagine what they might have heard, smelled, tasted, or felt during an event.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting ideas. I blog often about visits to historical sites and museums, so history plays a big role in my blog, but I hadn’t looked at it in quite the way outlined here.

    Like

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