Things to Think About if Your Story Includes a Revolution

Many writers setting their stories in a revolution fail to consider many points relevant to revolutions.  The linked article offers a lot of points you should not overlook.  For example:

1.  Be wary of your allies.  Just because someone shares some of your goals doesn’t mean they share all of them.  Both Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek wanted to defeat the Japanese, but their visions for post-Japanese China were vastly different.  Might one “ally” try to maneuver the other into the weaker position as the common enemy is defeated.

2.  The dictator or king you are revolting against may not be the main problem.  Subordinates may control events.  Some argue Emperor Hirohito of Japan was in this position at the time of Pearl Harbor.

3.  Concessions may only whet the appetite of rebels, leading to further rebellion.  Many have suggested the present Chinese regime is treading dangerous ground.  Events compelled them to loosen the reins, but the loosening of the reins may, in the end, bring their downfall.  As the Chinese people taste more and more freedom, they may become even more impatient to end the oligarchy controlling them.

4.  Other countries in the world will have an interest in the outcome of the revolution and attempt to influence it.  A classic example of this is the French role in the American revolution.  The French did not likely care about American liberty, but they delighted in bloodying Britain’s nose.  My own American history classes did not make me adequately appreciate the weight of the French role.  If the French fleet had not defeated the British fleet at the mouth of the Chesapeake, the Brits would have been able to resupply Cornwallis.  If Cornwallis had been resupplied, who knows what would have happened?  That premise would make a good alternative-history story.

5.  Whoever loses will romanticize their struggle.  Think of The-South-Will-Rise-Again bumper stickers.

The article more fully explains these and other factors to consider. Read the whole thing.


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