I’m in the process of writing a scene and I am stuck. Is there a way to write with a reference, kind of like they way an artist uses a picture as a reference when they’re drawing?
On that subject, I think it's also important to back it up (as far as making it not seem cheap goes). Have multiple characters reference the same works; don't just make up a name and use it once. If it's supposed to be famous/intellectual, I've always found it to be wise to ingrain it into the culture of your setting. It also makes the over-all setting seem more real, because a majority of cultures have famous works of literature/authors or historical figures/wars.
Oh, also, forgot to reference that we talked about this topic (sort of) before:
For iambecauseiwrite: Susanna Clarke made up every single book referenced in Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell. Clarke made frequent footnotes regarding these books and made up people from English history. The footnotes become part of the story by adding "historical" citations for references made by Norrell, and help create the appearance of authority on behalf of Norrell. It's a clever device to validate the history and knowledge of the characters.
Re: fictional authors/bookshevles. Reference the ideas or ideals you want the books to be about. If you describe the overarching concepts you are looking for, or the author as a legendary/authortative figure in his or her field, you can convey any subject or allude to anyone without actually naming names. Your more savvy readers will get who you are referencing, and the others will at least understand that the fictitous author/book is to be regarded as an authority on the referenced topic.
^This is what I was trying to say haha.
I thought the Avatar movie--how they have a legend about somebody who rode on a certain type of animal. You can incorporate faux-historical context somehow, so it makes sense and has significance to the reader.
I've have a problem with referencing "real things" in my fictional stories. This particular one is scifi/fantasy so it's removed from the "real world". It's not supposed to be Earth in the future. I need my characters to appear knowledgeable without referencing obvious things in existence like ancient Greek philosophers or medieval wars. Ex: What do I put in my characters bookcase? He's the type to read Marx but I can't say Marx. I could make up some names and titles. Is that cheap or detailed?
Is it really important to you that this planet isn’t supposed to be Earth? Because it sounds like it would be more beneficial to you if it was Earth, just way way in the future. Then you could reference real people.
I don’t think it’d be cheap to make up names at all, but they won’t serve any purpose as a reference to how intelligent your characters are if they don’t mean anything to your readers. The only thing you could do is make up different names for Earth historical people and events—like change all the names of the Greek gods and call them the XYZ gods but keep all of their stories the same.
But I would just make in Earth in the future, if it was me.
Anyone have anything to add?