Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Biographical Fiction

Day two and we’re still here, that is good news. Please look over in the right sidebar and vote for the best Orange Prompt Type, even if you entered a suggestion. If you aren’t sure what the Orange Prompt Type is check out the original post here.

Biographical fiction also ended up doing a ton of research and I would love to expand this story, too. The concept is biographical elements are intertwined with fictitious elements. A currently popular example is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now on to our regularly scheduled flashing.

“What are you doing now Ben?” Said a voice behind him.

Ben let out a sigh and closed his eyes to try to master is irritation. “Go away, I am busy,” he said to the voice behind him.

“You always say that,” complained the voice.

“And it’s always true,” Ben replied. “Thomas, run along and find something else to do.”

“Oh, if I could run,” Thomas lamented. “Ben, you know how it’s raining?”

“You mean did I notice the loud crashing thundering outside the house, yes Thomas I observed it was raining.”

“Good. I have been thinking about electricity.”

“You are always thinking about electrical fluid these days Thomas,” Ben replied and continued tinkering with the metal parts on his work desk without turning around.

“That is true, but so are you. It’s why we make a good pair,” Thomas said happily.

“We make a team because you will not leave me in peace. Why do you pester me so?”

“You know why I come here to talk to you. I come because you are the only person who can hear me,” Thomas said in frustration. “Don’t think I haven’t tried, but you are the only scientist who can hear me. How can I continue my work without a scientist. Yes, Mr. Franklin you are a medium.”

Ben whipped around in his chair and stared at Thomas. He was average height, rather thin, had long curly brown hair, brown eyes and the terribly annoying habit of refusing to appear solid. “A medium what? Of height and weight, perhaps. How many times have I told you not to say that?”

“Medium weight? Honestly man. Why would you want me not to say that? If you’re not a medium then what am I?” Thomas asked sure he had just achieved the upper hand.

“You are evidence that I have been awake far too many hours this day.”

“That is disappointing, but I need to talk to you about the lightning.” He said quickly waving the thought of sleep away like a gnat.

Ben sighed resigned to let Thomas tell him about the lightning, knowing he would not allow rest until his idea had been shared, expounded upon or refuted and then discussed. The night was late, but sleep would not come easily in either case and this seemed the path of least resistance. “Tell me about the lightning Thomas.”

“I think it may be electricity.” Thomas looked expectantly at Ben.

“I see, can you support that hypothesis?”

A spark ignited in Thomas’s eyes again, “I think I can. I noticed that lightning creates light, like electricity. It also makes quite a loud crash when it explodes, like the parlor tricks and entertaining sparks people are doing with rubber glass globes.”

Ben raised a hand, “How are you seeing parlor tricks?”

“I can go where I please. I am not following you around all day.” Thomas said and waved this thought away again.

Ben narrowed his eyes on Thomas’s hand and it stopped waving. “That’s comforting, continue.”

“Last week when lightning hit the Smith’s weather vane and set the place ablaze. I thought it must make tremendous heat,”

“Just like electrical fluid,” Ben interrupted leaning forward resting his elbow on his knee and chin in his hand.

“You know it has been many decades since I christened the word electricity. Why do you refuse to use it?” Thomas scrunched up his face pouting slightly.

“Because you aren’t Shakespeare Thomas. Everyone can’t just go around making up new words. It will get confusing.”

“It will become popular. Mark my words,” Thomas said flashing Ben a smile.

Ben looked up at the ceiling as if trying to chase down a memory that was eluding him. “The smell, you know the smell when the lightning strikes? It’s the same as electrical fluid, only much stronger.”

“Yes, smells. I miss smelling.”

“Concentrate Thomas. Lightning seems to hit metal objects more often and electrical fluid is attracted to metal. I must test this, but how?” Ben got up from his chair and crossed to the door looking up at the storm frowning slightly. “I need a tall hill or building.” He stepped out and looked around expecting one to spring into existence.

“Why? What are you thinking? I can tell you are planning something because you are frowning and looking about like a trapped rat searching for an escape route.”

“I will thank you very much not to liken me to vermin. There isn’t a site tall enough in the whole of Pennsylvania. I must think on this. Another answer is probably in plain sight.” Ben sighed, walked back in the house and pulled out his silk handkerchief to wipe the rain off his face. “You have given me much to think on this night Thomas Browne. I must retire, but tomorrow is another day.”

“What would you do without me?”

“Be well rested,” Ben grumbled as he headed toward his bed.

History is one of my favorite things and I know I get a bit carried away when it comes to the Revolutionary time period. One day I will make it to Williamsburg. While I was researching I came across this amazing documentation of a late 1700s frictional static electric machine. There are also photos of a 1757 Philosophical Transactions article on "The effects of electricity in Paralytick cases" by Benjamin Franklin all the way at the bottom. Yes, I know my geek flag is officially flying, but it happens to the best of us.

Do you have a geek flag? Do you ever incorporate your geek loves in your writing? Let me know in the comments and please feel free to leave your blog address as well so I can follow you back and see what you're up to.

Photos by Pixabay.


  1. My Geek has always been a GIRL nuts about everything Star Wars, also tech & gadgets. I do like learning about history, but enjoy it the most when someone with real knowledge is verbally telling me about it, rather than reading it I do like it when writers use alternate history lines. I find that interesting to see their take on it.

    Happy Writing
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  2. P S It also has me looking it up to see what was real and what was not real and how they changed it.

    1. That is the best part about alternative history, purple learning what really happened.