Monday, January 8, 2018

When you gotta build a castle, research is the answer

Every time I start a new novel, I find myself researching a variety of items, especially with the fantasy novels I've been writing lately. I have selected the 1700s as my template years for technology, clothing, architecture, and transportation.

Picture credit: Okamatsu Fujikawa from on Unsplash
Since drafting my newest fantasy novel, I've found the need to increase my areas of research. Castles. I need to know more about castles, especially, older castles versus new versions, defensibility determined by terrain, and terminology and personnel.

Research is a double-edged sword. It needs to be done, but if you're like me, it is easy to get sidetracked by interesting sites, such as the following site which actually BUILDS castles. BUILDS them! CastleMagic Castle Building. At first I thought it was a spoof that would turn out to be about building paper castles. The drawings were pencil sketches, and the video showing an example of the building process reminded me of Minecraft. But then I looked at their other pictures and videos. They BUILD castles. So you see I did get a bit sidetracked and for good reason. Too bad I don't have the money to have them build me a castle. They do a really good job and can include secret passages. Hmm, secret passages.

This is a site I found for terminology called appropriately Castle Terminology.  Every term I could possibly need, their definitions and alternatives seem to be on this site. Though I don't intend to be dropping castle terms all over my draft, I know I should refer to specific parts of castles correctly.

I toured two castles about ten years ago, both in Sweden which is helpful as the location of the castle in my novel is in mountainious terrain and very cold.

Laying out my castle is my biggest issue. I need to configue it to fit the story but stay within the standards of castles. Thus the following site is useful. It supplied a variety of layouts of castles and the reasoning behind them. Medieval Castle Layout. It's proving useful as I plan out my version. I'll probably have to plan out two more as well. Hmm, a castle building author is never done.

You know, I have to make room for a dragon in my castle. But enough about my research.

What research are you doing lately, and what about it sidetracks you?

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