Thursday, 12 October 2017

Research for the BIG book


The big book I'm working on at the moment mixes fiction with non-fiction. All fiction contains some elements of truth but using historical people, places and events in my story has meant that I have had to do far more research than I've ever done before.

The story focuses on the life of a certain pirate captain - a notorious man that captured lots of ships (I will go into more detail about him at another time). Although I've seen pirate ships on the television and have read about them in books, it was still hard to imagine what it would be like to actually stand of the deck of one of these tall ships?


How big were they? Books tell you the measurements of the ships but it's still hard to actually visualise it yourself. A trip to Bristol helped sort that out...

What does it feel like to look down from the rigging at the very top?

An important member of a ships crew was the doctor. I wondered what sort of equipment a doctor would have had on those days. If you imagine rows of shiny medical instruments laid out then you'd be wrong. A trip to the maritime museum helped with that - and lots of other things too.
As you can see from this doctor's bag, the main tool is a saw. Ouch!
Some of the things I have needed to find out weren't as exciting as ships or as interesting as a bag of doctor's tools... I wanted to know what the inside on an old farmhouse would look like. A very short scene in my story is set inside a house. I've also researched hats and clothes... If you want your character to sound believable you need to know a lot about them. What did they wear? What did they eat? How did they light the rooms in their houses? Lamps, candles or something else.

Dice play an important part of my story too - so I had to find out about those. I will tell you more later... on with the book.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

I Am Writing #AmWriting

Today I #AmWriting ... it's what you do when you're a writer. You write. Some days are great and some days are not so great. Some days the words flow gently like a stream. Some days they more like a torrential river and it's hard to stop the words coming.

These are the good days...

Other days the words get trapped and nothing moves at all. You feel that your mind is a stagnant pond full of useless thoughts and ideas.

Needless to say, these are bad days...

Today is a good day. The words are flowing nicely. I can see where the story is going. Days like this make you feel happy. They make you feel that you really are a writer and that you will get to the end of the book you are working on.

Right now I'm sat at the table with the French doors wide open beside me. The sun is shining in. Birds are singing. 

The book I am working on is the biggest thing I've ever tackled. It's exciting and frightening in equal measures. I'm mixing fact with fantasy - an interesting thing to do as I keep having to stop to do just a little bit more research before I can continue. Sometimes you have to get things straight in your head because you want things to be just right...

So what sort of lights did they have in those days? Did they have lamps or did they only have candles and flaming torches? They had lamps... of course they had lamps. Lamps of one kind or another had been in existence for many years... Glad that's sorted. But hang on... would my character and his family have had lamps? No - looks like were back to candles again.  

"The boy carefully picked up the flickering candle and slowly made his way towards the door."

Phew... glad that's all sorted out. I can carry on with the rest of the story now. 

"Carefully picking up the candle, the boy slowly made his way to the door."
No...

"He picked up the candle and headed..." NO!

"After picking up..." NO! NO!!

"The candle flickered on the shelf by the door as the boy made his way towards it." NO! NO!! NO!!!

"The boy carefully picked up the flickering candle and slowly made his way towards the door."

There... That's it. DONE!

Now I just need to remember why the boy was even going to the door in the first place. If there was someone there they're bound to have gone by now. 

*sigh*

And today's a good day...