29

This is not uncommon. When writers want to refer to real people, places or events, but they don't want to stick to the facts, they just rename them. Most readers adjust pretty easily. This is particularly true if the genre is Science Fiction, where it's easy enough to assume an Earthlike planet, or an alternate reality, even when that isn't spelled out. In ...


10

Your proofreader felt disturbed because there may be some inconsistencies in your story. I'll point my finger against the fact that you changed some country names. This - per se - is not a problem, but it does depend on a lot of different factors. Let's review. In an alternate-history story, it's totally legitimate changing some details in a way that suit ...


8

As Chris Sunami says, this isn't all that uncommon. If you're story centers on events in one country that is not supposed to be a major world power, you can just invent a country, throw in some vague geography like, "in central Europe", and tell your story. Lots of stories are set in fictional small countries. Then you just invent whatever culture or ...


8

Creating a world is a lot of work. It doesn't matter if your world is a single town over the course of a year or an intercontinental saga over several generations. Either way, you need to map out the geography, features, characters and their genealogies, and history. How detailed you get depends both on your approach to writing and the requirements of the ...


7

You have two options: 1. Create an Earth-like world. (Earth is opt-in) The idea is you start with starfish aliens, and then you “opt-in” to the things you want to be the same as in our world. Here you have the most freedom, but this can also be one of the harder things to get right. You also have a good deal of latitude to introduce some elements of ...


7

As of 2017, the collective works of H.G. Wells, including The Time Machine, are in the public domain. Not only that, Wikipedia also lists over a dozen stories based on The Time Machine, almost all of which were written before that date (I can only assume its US copyright expired much earlier) and only one of which is mentioned to have been authorised by ...


6

Let me challenge your premise. You say you're writing alternative history. Usually, alternative history has one point of divergence from real history, and the effects of this divergence are explored. The divergence can be a fantastical element, or it can just be that history took a different course. Some examples: Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. ...


6

With Alternative History everything is assumed to be the same unless the author specifically says otherwise, that being the case you need to be consistent when saying that you've made a particular change. If you change the name Switzerland to the "Helvetian League" then you can't turn around and talk about "the Swiss"; they don't exist anymore. Changing ...


4

Without the same countries, people, and history, it is simply not our Earth. Even with geographical and technology similarities, it's an entirely different world. For example, superhero stories often take place on a parallel earth. But Gotham City and Smallville don't feel like they're in our America. They're American themed, sure, and that's the closest to ...


4

Alternative history can allude to history and make the reader think ‘this sounds a bit like the Great War’ but the names of the countries have been changed. That is fine, but you need not do that. It can also not change the names and that can be better. Whatever works for your story, works. In a couple of movies, history was altered significantly and the ...


3

+1 to Chris Sunami. Agree 100%. Poor Yorick's comment agrees, and so do I. (Look up the multiverse trope on TVTropes.) There are a few ways to go about it, but essentially do so straight away in some way or other. I might play with an epigraph at beginning: The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space. -Carl ...


3

How specifically do you need this to be Earth? If you just want human-like people on an Earth-like planet, then just make it up. Of course you need to make up all the history, as far back as is relevant. If you think "relevant" stops a hundred years or so back, consider that language groupings over most of Europe have around 3000 years of tribal conflict ...


3

Don't mention it Show it Suspension of disbelief is a powerful drug. It clouds the mind and prevent the reader from realizing that Quimbonia is not a real country. It's true that it looks and feels like the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants even speak British English, and each carry an umbrella. Fact is, it is called Quimbonia and has no coastline. To ...


2

I can think of several ways I have encountered as reader of such literature Draw a political map of your Earth and put it in an appendix of your book, or its inside cover, some prominent place like that. Granted, this is a blunt way to do it, but it worked well for me when I read Tolkien and watched Game of Thrones. Refer to geographical features that don'...


2

I think you need to do light research, unless you already know the answers. For example, suppose you thwart the assassination of JFK (Stephen King already wrote that book). We know what happened (real history) when Lyndon B. Johnson took over, but you need a plausible theory of what happens if JFK remains President. I don't think you can just do anything, ...


1

I would do some research first. But what some might call research, others would call fun reading. So, yeah, you should have a decent grasp on the real world history first. As well as a basic understanding of the technology or politics or cultural issues you want to change. After that, it really depends on your personality and how you work. Some people ...


1

It would depend on the scenario. I suggest you just write, let the changes to history that you make lead you and the reader to interesting places. The movie Fatherland has an interesting scenario where World War II never happened and JFK was not assassinated. This led to a world with a thriving Germany ruled by the Nazi party and Hitler, the US President ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible