Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Pink is giving me the evil eye...

I've been caught in Google Books searching out all sort of interesting things about medieval village structure and economic history....

Found some useful (since this is for story background and not historical papers) material in early 20th c public domain books, too.

Wish I had all that research I once did for fun one summer about the rise of trade in 12th-14th c  English wool...but it burned up when I had my fire...but still, this has been fun, and I have learned what I wanted to know, the organization of and typical sizes of a medieval open field village...including job titles and what they do (like hayward ).

I used to know so much of this stuff.  Amazing how 20+ years of not using it dulls the memory.  And back in those days, I was more focused on the big Italian  merchant houses and the impact of the Edwards' Scottish wars on them.

And so now, I go and turn this data into stuff I need for The Woman Who Loved the North Wind.  I have 4 types of communities to flesh out, one not much more than a rural village, where the guy in charge is not much more than a rich peasant,  two petty kingdoms, sort of like independent dukedoms, where the high level nobles also have their own estates, one or two of which  have to be fleshed out a bit, and a mercantile town.

No, I can't just invent.  No, I have to go and find out stuff like typical numbers of households, how certain types of agricultural activity was done pre-industrially (I knew some of it, but I was shaky on some of it), and other interesting tidbits.

Only bits and pieces of this background knowledge will rise to surface in my story in detail (like, yeah, I'm not going to talk about gathering puffball mushroom powder for putting into tinderboxes, although that was a favored tinder), but I sort of need this feeling of solidity to keep writing.  I pushed through my draft, knowing I'd be going back, because although I was really a junkie about Medieval social and economic history, it's been a long, long time, and my memories just don't have enough of the data that I use to weave the background of a story.

But I got two really useful books in (Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley looks like the most useful), and then found another 14 on google books, digitized, and ready to dl as pdf ebooks for free.

My inner researcher is happy.  My inner writer has the data, and Pink can now pull me by the ear and continue that scene I got stuck on.... 



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 5th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
One of my favorite parts of writing is the research. Granted, I don't nearly do as much as you do, but it is definitely worth it. I'm excited to read your novel though. It sounds as if it is really coming together. It's a long process, but from what I know, completely worth it. Good luck and thank you for updating with news. ^_^

Dec. 5th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Why, you're welcome!

We won't even talk about how much money I spent to be able to write my Inu fics....LOL. Let's put it this way, it fills a narrow five-shelf bookcase. I've done pretty well for this story...four or five books on folktales and related, a couple of economic history books, a book on Norse mythology. I actually have a pretty good background in the areas I needed, but there's always some question or other that pops up...like how to make hay. I sort of knew how they did it, but I needed a few points clarified...and community size, and a few other odds and ends.

I think it's the fact I do historical reenacting. I have to learn about the day to day life of people for that, so I come up with all sorts of detail questions some people wouldn't ask, like how do they build haystacks? (make sure it's dry to start with, put it on stones, often covered with bracken, evidently, and use a frame when the climate was damp, and thatch it to keep the rain off...otherwise, it begins to compost, and can get hot enough to catch on fire from the heat of it composting. Interesting what you learn when you want to know what the women are doing while the men are mowing the meadow...and probably the only detail that will actually show up from this will be details about bringing food to the workers and the women raking the grass out so it can dry...LOL. But I was having fun.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )