The first two chapters of my Stupor Mundi novel are now available for critiquing on Critters and OWW if anyone is interested in taking a look. In total they come to 4,000 words.
I have written about 17,000 words so far, but most of this is in early draft format.
I did about 30 rough html docs and may do some more today while watching the rugby – which should be a walkover for England, but you never know, could be embarrassing!
Getting the first version of the outline done for the Agincourt gamebook was quite exhausting, and I have been yearning to get back to the novel project featuring Roger Draper, demon-hunter. So I have started on the research for this again. I have found some interesting stuff on the borough organization of St Albans, on which my fictional town of St Seward’s will be based. I have also identified other areas that I need to research. This in a way is quite easy research compared to Stupor Mundi as there is a relatively large amount of stuff available in English. Also my setting at the end of the day is fictional. So while I want to get the setting genuine, the actual historical details of what happens is less important, as the story is more a mirror of what really happened or could have happened.
A bit more research about the abbey and the surrounding county should allow me to be in a position to map out the local history and factional/character background for my own fictional location. Should be fun!
I’m considering turning my translation of Huillard-Breholles into a pdf e-book that can be downloaded from the Stupor Mundi website. The idea is that I would be able to share the work I have done, but also protect my copyright and not have the work passed off on other people’s sites and possibly financially exploited by them.
I think this could be managed by setting up a Paypal commerce section to the site. Once I have received the money, (possibly a nominal $20?) I would then send the customer an email with the pdf attached or a link and password to a secure part of a file-sharing site?
Re-organizing the files for Stupor Mundi has taken longer than I thought it would. It was actually quite a big job to go through all the files and see what should go where. One of the longest parts of this was actually taking files down from my 4shared account and saving them on my hard drive. But now I have complete copies of everything on both my laptop and desktop, as well as back-up copies on a usb stick and soon hopefully on Skydrive (files are currently being uploaded!).
More information on Frederick II.
I’m on the cusp of a potentially big decision here. I am seriously contemplating just going back to the Stupor Mundi novel project rather than continuing with short stories. I think I have developed and learnt as a writer in the last few months, and this could help me with the novel length project I would really like to do.
The things I fear though are the degree of research and preparation required. My biggest phobia for this project seems to be that I have committed myself to do research in some areas that are almost impossible at the moment. The reason being that the sources are in languages that I don’t speak, read or write with any fluency.
Should this be a barrier? As the story is fiction and quite fantastical in nature does a truly well-researched approach matter? Yes and no I think. I would like to know more to help me with providing some better character detail, but the difficulties might outweigh the benefits.
I have started looking at the plot again for Stupor and had some good ideas to develop it, so we’ll see how these get on. Meanwhile I’m trying to guage what research is really necessary and how difficult this might be regarding the language of the source material.
I have just added a chronology for the life of Frederick II. This lists the key events of his life, with some more detail in places.
Another page on my Stupor Mundi site published, this time looking at the subject of Magic! All the content here is taken from the book by Kieckhefer – its basically my notes of the examples he provides.
Magic, according to those who dwelt on such things came in two main flavours in the Middle Ages. Natural or occult magic was based on special properties of natural occuring things, for instance magical properties of certain herbs or animals etc, whereas demonic magic was specifically the summoning of spirits for evil.
How magic was viewed in the Middle Ages is a fascinating subject. It was believed to be real and quite dangerous. Richard Kieckhefer’s book Magic in the Middle Ages
is a brilliant introduction to the subject area and I recommend reading it. As well as introducing the background to belief, it also traces the classical, celtic and germanic background to magic in Western Europe, as well as looking at Arabic and Jewish sources. The development of a clerical underground and the developing persecution of witches is also covered.
For me however, the most useful aspect was just to get a reliable source of possible examples of how magic was practiced in the middle ages. I’m currently working on stories set in a historical context where the characters use, or attempt to use magic, so I found this book invaluable. Although it’s an academic text, it is not dry or dull at all.
I have added a new page to my Stupor Mundi website. The page provides some information on the medieval alliterative poem The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne, which was a very popular poem in the late 14th century.
I have now published a page for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight at my Stupor Mundi website.
Here’s my synopsis of the poem:
“The poem starts at Christmas at the court of King Arthur. A visitor comes to the hall, the Green Knight, and offers to let anyone strike him who will suffer a return blow a year and a day later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge, beheads the Green Knight. However, the knight picks up his own head and reminds Gawain to come to his castle in a year and a day. The poem’s narrative then follows the journey of Gawain to the Green Knight’s castle and the events at the castle. The Green Knight shows Gawain great hospitality, and his wife, Lady Bertilak, offers her own form of hospitality as well. Gawain is torn between showing proper courtly responses to the lady’s come-ons and not offending his host. Eventually the day comes when Gawain must receive the return blow from the Green Knight.”
Information on Michael Scots writings has been updated at my Stupor Mundi website.