Digital Atlas of Medieval and Roman Civilisations

Thank you to Steven Till for blogging about this. The Digital Atlas of Medieval and Roman Civilisations is an interactive map created by Harvard to create a Google style historical map. I must say this is an exciting project, and although they have released it as a beta, I did feel slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more. I would have expected all the major Medieval kingdoms to be mapped out, but that’s not the case. Hopefully more will be added soon though.

Here’s a screenshot to wet your appetite (click on it to expand!):

Hell has its Demons Progress

Just a quick update about the writing of my novel, the historical fantasy, Hell has its Demons.

Things are progressing steadily on a daily basis. I’m really glad I have set myself a low daily limit of 250 words. Although this isn’t much, and sometimes can only take ten minutes to write, it does mean that I have no excuse on nearly any day to get the words done. And with only the odd exception I have been able to do this, even on occasion doing a bit more. So I’m now at about 30,000 words, and I think I’ll end up with about 150,000 words in total. This is very much the first draft though, and because I don’t have much time to write on a daily basis, I’m not doing any editing or polishing work. My aim is to get it all down and then go back through the whole thing.

One problem I have had, and this is probably a symptom of not being able to write for extended periods of time, is that I don’t have long to sit and ponder plot and characters while I’m writing. In a way this is quite exciting and produces the freshness that you can get with automatically writing whatever comes into your head, but also it leaves me a bit rudderless – will the novel ever lurch to the ports that I want it to visit? To this end I have decided to write an outline on a daily basis too, which will consist of a long paragraph or two describing each chapter or scene (I tend to write in scenes a lot). Previously my outlining was a bit too process driven containing notes about character arc, bullet points about conflict etc, whereas now I’m just writing what happens in a narrative summary format, which ends up being a bit more natural.

Inevitably the outlining will get a bit ahead of the actual writing, but should remain close enough to it to keep things fresh. I don’t want to do the whole outline and then come back and do all the writing – I think even with everything written down, or maybe because everything will be written down, that will really take the edge of the excitement of writing the book.

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