Research, A question for all you aspiring writers. HOW much do you do?
The use of sword, bow, axe etc have studied the use of, construction, type, method of use etc.
Horses,have you ridden, cared for etc.
Clothes, researched, looked at even worn.
Castles, types of etc......
Thing is often a good story is ruined by bad research, even a fantasy has to have it's roots in the real world to allow it to grow,
Tolkien for example. I live in the part of the world where he started writing Lotr, and you can see the shire at every turn of the river.
His weapons were correctly used, his battles showed his own experience of war, he served in the first world war, the scouring of the shire is a reflection of the trenches.
Just thought I would throw this in and see..
"swords do not weigh 20 lbs, nor armour a 100, do the research and the rest is easy http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif"
March 9th, 2002, 09:52 PM
I actually do heaps of research. Part of my latest novel takes place in 3000BCE, so as you can imagine, I have been researching cultures of that period quiet extensively, especially in relation to tools, clothing, crops and religion etc.
March 10th, 2002, 09:33 AM
I do plenty of research - visiting musuems, reading books on medieval warfare (since it's closest to the world I write in at the moment) etc. My latest offering has much of its action taking place in a rainforest so I've read up.
As with everything, there's a balance to be struck. People can do too much research and then feel the need to include it all in their work to the detriment of the story. But I agree, lack of any research can ruin any novel very quickly.
March 10th, 2002, 07:23 PM
You need only research what you need for your nnovel, but extra research for a better understanding and wider scope does no harm. With fantasy, things don't necessarily need to be quite the same as they are in the real world or history, so long as you let the reader subtely know this.
March 12th, 2002, 06:33 AM
I try to research as much as possible, when time permits. In general, my writing and research for writing have slagged in the last few months, but that is another story.
One example, is for the fantasy novel/world which I have been giving the most time and devotion to. In it, I wanted to have a pet-type of creature--I wanted it to have some type of flying, pseudo-flying or gliding abilities, be relatively small cat or mouse sized.
After searching the internet, I found an animal that came pretty close to what I wanted to be in my world. Of course, the creature will have some exaggerated characteristics of the real animal, but what is fiction without embelleshment.
I have some books on cultures that I want to use that I've skimmed over and plan to read in more detail.
So yes, research is an important part of writing. Though I am writing fantasy, per say--I want to be truthful about what I write--have some foundation in "our" world.
March 12th, 2002, 08:15 AM
I agree, the best fantasy has it's feet firmly planted in the "real" world.
My last work, which is being considered by the publishers at the moment (fingers crossed for this one http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif) was based on the idea of the forging of a sword for the leading character.
During my research I came to know, various gentlemen who actually forge swords for a living, for museums, films and collectors. One gentleman took me under his wing and I can in theory now forge a blade the 13th century way.....
The process is far more magical than any I could dream up.
I also talked and still do with ladies and gentleman who study WMA, that's Western Martial Arts. These people try to understand and put in to practice the sword work of 13th-16th century sword masters by studing the manuscripts they wrote.
I have found actually handling a repoduction blade of the correct size and weight a great help in writing about sword play.
"swords don;t weigh 20 lbs nor armour 100 do the research and the easy is easy http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif"
P.S.thankyou for the welcome.
March 13th, 2002, 01:42 AM
To tell you the truth, I take other writers' word for the forging and horseriding. And I don't go into much detail into the quality and the way my characters use their swords.
Of course, I see what you mean by fantasy having its roots in the real world, but that depends on the writer. I mean, if you wanted to create your own world, where people evolved their own way, I suppose that as long as all that they are doing is logical, and acceptable to a person reading it, it's all right to make up stuff. That is of course taking into accont that the book is a fantasy novel, and not a non fiction description.
So I don't do much research, but I use the knowledge I have picked up over the years about medieval warfare and weaponry as a background, but I make up most of my stuff.
March 13th, 2002, 03:10 AM
Personally, Iíve research a lot. But then, I tend to enjoy researching. I just find many of the topics intriguing. Most of the research doesnít make it into the story, itís just for my knowledge. For instance, when I created my landscape I found some books on ecology and read up on how the different ecological regions fit together and the relationship between tectonics and the geography of the planet. I doubt any of this information will be in the story. And I donít suppose the research was necessary. It was something I wanted to do and I found the information very interesting.
March 14th, 2002, 01:47 AM
I don't do a lot of research, but like KATS, I do research important things and find I enjoy them. I had to research crsytal mining and horses for example. The crystal mining sites I found were damn interesting. The horses, mainly I needed to know speeds and caring for them etc. and was frustrated abouthaving trouble finding basic info, but i enjoyed it. It's a great way to increase your specific knowledge. For my sequel I need to learn all about different types of boats. Should be fun.
Does anyone know any good sites on BARGES (and not the new motorised type)????????
Can't find a bloody thing on barges from centuries ago.