18 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, Cultural Awareness Language
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
I'm writing about sources of historical research and how to make historical research. These apply to any novel or any subject you might wish to study. Here is a list:
1. Primary source documents or artifacts
2. Secondary source documents or artifacts
3. Tertiary source documents or artifacts
If you do get the history right--that is the details as well as the basics--there is another piece of history that needs to fill out your works. This additional part is cultural awareness. Here is the list of how to develop your target period for writing a historical novel.
1. Primary sources (secondary second)
2. Clean slate
3. Add in only what you find from primary sources (secondary next)
4. Cultural awareness
5. Historical feel
Language, more than any other characteristic, delineates culture. That is not to say that different cultures can't share the same or similar languages--just look at AmerEnglish culture. You just have to recognize that culture mainly begins with language.
Look, you generally know a person is French if they speak French or have a French accent. It is always possible for a person to speak French if they are not French, but less likely that they will have a French accent. If I describe a person having a French accent, you immediately assume they are French. If I tell you they are speaking French, you immediately assume they have some background in France or a French speaking country.
All my historical novels begin and end with language, and I'm not speaking about English. In The Second Mission, the focus is ancient Greek. In Aegypt, the focus is French and ancient Egyptian with Berber and Lybian tribal thrown in. In Centurion, the focus is Aramaic, Koine Greek, and Latin. In these novels, the languages represent cultures and the cultures change with the languages. Cultures begin and end with language. A major step in cultural awareness is to study or understand the language of the culture.
I'll write more about culture and language tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.