31 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, Methods of Language and Historical Feel
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
Like yesterday's example from my published novel, Centurion, you should bring in the terms and cultural ideas gradually and through showing. Through the novel, you should reexplain the terms when it makes sense. It also helps to have a lexicon.
In this manner, I tried to keep a strong Roman historical feel through the Roman portions of the novel. I also mentioned that in this novel, I used Aramaic names and place names for the Aramaic speakers. In this way, I kept the cultures separate and allowed the reader to understand and appreciate these two cultures. This is just one method of handling language and culture in a novel.
I used a similar technique in my published novel, The Second Mission. The Second Mission is about Attic Greece and Socrates in 400 to 399 BCE. All the names and places were Greek, but I didn't use many Greek or non-English terms. I did provide a lexicon. The point was that I was working in a single culture through the entire novel. The most important work in this context was displaying the culture. The entire cultural feel came from the differences with AmerEnglish culture. I achieved this because the main character was an accidental time traveler--so the reader saw the world of The Second Mission through the eyes and comparisons of an AmerEnglish person. This is one of my favorite methods for showing culture.
I'll write more about that 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/.