I need some random, crazy ideas here.

The setting is an alternate world, a bit remniscent of Victorian America, but with steampunk elements. Magic/energy in this world is evthene, composed of revtha (physical) waves, and kethna (spiritual) waves. There has been a lot of research into manipulating revtha (think kinetic energy, temperature, electricity, etc.), but not much is known about using/controlling kethna.

I need ideas for a guy trying to politely discourage a girl who wants to marry him, without offending her or her father (who has a lot of political influence, and is bad to offend, basically). He has a sister who likes to invent things, and is pretty good at manipulating revtha.

Good and bad ideas are welcome. Actually, bad ideas might be even better than good ones, though I'd appreciate some heads up on the ways the bad ideas could go wrong (For the most part, at this point, this is for conversation pieces, as the guy and his sister brainstorm ways for him to get out of his betrothal, as neither of them can really stand the bride-to-be for long periods of time). I'm thinking that later on, they might try one or two of them.

bliumchik: (Default)

From: [personal profile] bliumchik

Well, I don't know if you've written the kind of society where this would be scandalous but not dangerous, but if you have then rumours of homosexuality are always an option :P

If that's too awkward, rumours of gambling debts? Try to set up an alternative suitor? Casually mention intent to whisk future bride away to Alaska for hunting trips and fun with taxidermy?
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)

From: [personal profile] jazzfish

Ooh, bad ideas I can do.

He has a disease!
He's impotent!
He holds unpleasant religious/cultural beliefs!
He refuses to support his wife, preferring for her to take in washing and such!
He will expect her to perform her own household chores rather than employing servants!
He fraternizes with *whispered* those people! (for whatever values of "those people")

(Incidentally, "kethna" in Steven Brust's Dragarea novels are a domesticated eatin' animal, probably analogous to pigs.)
lady_ganesh: A Clue card featuring Miss Scarlett. (Default)

From: [personal profile] lady_ganesh

He's infertile due to a tragic riding accident!
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)

From: [personal profile] melannen

Well, depending on how similar your Victorian England is to ours - fake a poltergeist or spiritual visitation telling him not to let her marry the guy?

Some with good mechanical skills in Victorian tech can do amazing things with faking ghosts, and unexpected people being into spiritualism is part of Victorian milieu - depending on how your kethna has changed things.
ailelie: (Default)

From: [personal profile] ailelie

Surely the daughter of one so important as her father deserves a full courtship, rather than some slap-dash engagement. In order to demonstrate his respect for the woman and her family, the son proposes an archaic (and possibly completely made-up) courtship that is quite lengthy involving specific gifts (a paper, milady, for I am mere canvas for your excellence, etc etc), enforced periods of separation, and communication solely through metaphors and poetry.

(Optionally: In the meantime, his sister befriends the girl (or pretends to befriend) and tries to set her up with someone who is not so enamored with fusty old ideas like years-long courtship.)
msmcknittington: Queenie from Blackadder (Default)

From: [personal profile] msmcknittington

What if his sister invents a device which manipulates the electrical bits of the young lady's brain, so that she breaks into a rash or becomes nauseated whenever the device is near her? It could look like a tie pin or something like that. Ooh, or the device could make her think that he smells really unpleasant, so that she'll have to live with his incredibly strong man funk if she marries him.

I suppose those aren't exactly polite, but they are clever.

The polite way would probably be something like him telling her very gently that his affections are engaged elsewhere, and it would be unfair of him to subject her to a commitment where he could not return her affection. She deserves to be happy, and he cannot be the man who makes her so. He doesn't actually have to name a specific person, and to do so would probably show a lack of character. You can get some ideas on how to word such things from Victorian letter writing manuals. There's a little bit about them at Victorian Web (try Googling the titles; they're probably online somewhere) and some examples of sample letters here.

Or gosh! This is a really Victorian one, since this sort of thing actually happened and it was incredibly controversial. He could say that he believes in free love, i.e. is an anarchist sex radical, and as such, he does not believe in the institution of marriage as he feels it is too limiting of women's freedoms. Any woman he married would have to be willing to live in an open relationship, without the benefit of a legally recognized relationship. He respects her far too much to expose her to that sort of social censure, and so he has resolved to live a bachelor.
msmcknittington: Queenie from Blackadder (Default)

From: [personal profile] msmcknittington

Here's The Universal Letter Writer, published in 1808 but it was republished a few times after that. Some of the sample letters are pretty hilarious to modern readers, like the ones between Henry and his friend Billy.

And here are the results for books on Google Books which were published in the 19th century and have "letter writer" in the title. Good luck!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith


Perhaps he could reveal, or have revealed in some way, that his sexual tastes and hers are not compatible? Which of course has much potential for mayhem if he guesses wrong and names something she secretly likes!
sweet_sparrow: Miaka (Fushigi Yûgi) looking very happy. (Confused)

From: [personal profile] sweet_sparrow

Question: if he can't stand his bride-to-be, how did he get engaged to her in the first place? Arranged marriage?

(Not particularly useful, I know.)
crazybone: (Default)

From: [personal profile] crazybone

If the protagonist in question stands to inherit a fortune, land, or noble household, have a rumor started that he's a bastard. This can backfire spectacularly, especially if it's found out there are circumstantial reasons to believe the rumor is true and Mom and Dad's marriage is on the rocks anyway.


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