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I'm writing an original story about figure skating.

Problem: I have no idea what country to use for my main character.

I need a country that:

  1. Actually exists

  2. Does not take part in the Winter Olympics

  3. English-speaking (it's part of my plot)

  4. Is probably very cold and/or has many ice skating rinks

My country does not meet these criteria so how do I write about another country (if I can find it) and how do I ensure that the things I write remain fictitious in a non-fictitious setting?

I'm trying not to write about a country that already has Olympics because I do not want my character to seem like she is better than the current athletes from that country and the readers to say "Aren't our current athletes good enough?" and such. But if I do write about a country that already has Olympic athletes, how do I write it such that it still remains fictitious but the current athletes are recognised as strong athletes without offending anyone?

Thanks.

closed as off-topic by Standback Jun 25 '17 at 6:05

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    If you want a country like that to NOT participate in Winter Olympics, it's a tough find. Even if you come up with a fictitious country, you are going to need a good explanation why a country with many skating rings does not participate in Olympics. – Alexander Jun 18 '17 at 22:00
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    This is more a sports trivia question than a writing question. It would be more of a topic for sports.stackexchange.com – Philipp Jun 19 '17 at 12:36
  • I'm afraid we can't help you on research (e.g. picking a country) selecting just the right detail -- see writers.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/20/… . The question about not being offensive to existing athletes sounds like an interesting one -- would you consider editing, or writing a new question, focusing on that? Explain why it is you're worried it might offend, and I suspect we can help :D – Standback Jun 25 '17 at 6:05
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You have to get more fictitious than you like. Your set of requirements is just too strict.

Maybe the easiest way is to set your story in a country that does participate in Olympics, but does not have much of figure skating tradition.

Another way (often used too) is to create a fictitious setting in a real country, where your character would have a full freedom of development. There are so many fiction books where (for example) USA has a fictitious president, so if you create a wholly different picture of one sport, it's not a big deal. Just be sure to stress that your setting is "alternate", and have some characters miss the "good old days", when figure skaters of that country actually got medals.

Third way is to create a fictitious country, but that, I imagine, would be more work.

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Has many skating rinks and doesn't participate in the Winter Olympics. That doesn't make sense. I looked at a map and didn't see anything that fits your description. Maybe you could use a remote region of Siberia, and fictionalize it so that there's no rinks, but people use the frozen lakes. Maybe a few locals have learned English. Good luck!

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    We also need to separate Siberia from Russia, our we end up being in Winter Olympics powerhouse :) – Alexander Jun 18 '17 at 22:07
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Alexander's point is extremely valid, and I feel your criteria are too restrictive.

What you are after is a country like Australia. Generally hot/tropical climate with some snow and slopes. We participate in the Winter Olympics, but aren't well known for it. And we have the underdog factor.

Look at Steven Bradbury, for example. Australia's first Winter Olympic Gold Medallist in Speed Skating. He won it because everyone else in the race, all the big guns, crashed in a heap and he was that far behind he managed to swerve around them, stay on his feet and cross the line.

No one expected him to win (least of all himself). But he was good enough to get there in the first place.

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As everyone has mentioned, your requirements... particular that the country does not participate in the winter Olympics, is a bit tight. Most countries get at least 1 representative to qualify. What you are looking for is a story like Cool Runnings where you have a Jamaican team qualify and perform well at the Bobsled event. They were laughed at for most of the movie. A country that has many skating rinks likely means that they love to skate and therefore will have people who are good enough to perform in the Olympics.

As others have stated, you can create an alternative universe about a real powerhouse. Say we speed up the years to being 100 years from now. Russia, a typical powerhouse in winter Olympics and figure skating has lost funding for their program due to what ever causes. Country went broke, it has a civil war going on... what ever cause you want to do to make Russia fall apart. In comes our MC. A talented skater who is tired of war and skates in an abandoned rink when no one is around (because it is forbidden due to xxx dangers or politics). They get yelled at for sneaking off all the time but they still choose to because they love it. They end up writing themselves in an application and raised the funding themselves through working many jobs with the support of friend/bf/husband/wife/gf/family/etc. They are accepted into the Olympics as an independent. Through their trials, they get mocked at by other countries for their country (because of what ever conflict is hurting Russia). This person manages to rise above the rest to reclaim the glory (give it an olympic or 2 if you want to elongate the process) and becomes someone that unites Russia again and/or provides funding/support for their figure skating committee.

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