This is a classic myth and misconception about history and its epochs and one I’m sure many people realise. The Renaissance, the rebirth of classical learning made new by writers and scholars such as Michaelangelo and Petrarch, did not start after the Middle Ages, it was actually a phenomenon that started probably in the late 13th century.
I think the problem is that most people still see the Middle Ages as a time of misery, ignorance and muck, with perhaps only the chivalry of knights to add any colour.
The Middle Ages: A Case of Mistaken Identity?
This was not the case. The real renaissance had already started in the twelfth century with the rediscovery of Aristotle. Humanism developed with secular writers such as Dante and Chaucer. Religion was being questioned in the late fourteenth century by Wyclif, as it had been by a host of heretical movements and scholars for several centuries.
These myths though are often just propagated further in books and film, and unfortunately the classic fantasy novel, set in a pseudo-medieval world that never existed, is partly to blame.
I haven’t posted for a while as I have been concentrating on some major changes to Habit for Killing. In fact the story has changed completely from a medieval mystery to a full-on fantasy set in the historical 14th century.
I’ll provide some more details once I have got a bit further with the plot.
In my latest attempts at plotting I have found that looking at listing all the issues at stake for the characters a useful method. So for instance what possible events could happen that make things harder for the lead characters and increase the stake they have in the story. After brainstorming this list I then put them in order of magnitude, so the more minor events first building up to events that increase the pressure on the characters the most. An this pretty much gave me the plot for the second act of the book.
Another tip of his that I used was, as this was now more of a thriller, to look at creating a knock-out ending before working much of the rest of the plot. I think I have a really stunning ending now, that the rest of the plot can work towards. Whereas when I was planning to write a mystery, how the mystery was uncovered was in many ways more important than the ending.