Saturday, September 20, 2008

When and where

I’m still working on individual character sheets (courtesy of PBW) for the novel to be written during NaNo.

So far, I still don’t have names, but more importantly, nor do I know when the piece will be set. I’m trying to decide between three: Medieval, Renaissance or Victorian.

All eras have their merits, the rough and tumble of knights and damsels, the refinement of artisans and the new era of science, the imagination and creativity of the industrial revolution.

Here are my brief thoughts.

A. Medieval: A time of turmoil. The church rules and heresy is usually accompanied by a rope or an axe. The economy is agrarian with the divide between rich and poor staggering. There are wars and not a lot of law and order. Travel was by horse – if you could afford it – carriage or cart, or on your own two feet. There’s the Black Plague, hard work, brigands, devout religion and fear. Social order is defined by the Lords who own the land and the taxes paid to the king. Only the highest class could read and/or write.

B. Renaissance: Everything is settling down after the blights. There are still wars and conflict between Henry VIII and the church. Still agrarian with lords and serfs, but there is burgeoning art and architecture, and a new middle-class too. Exploration of the unknown world is beginning with the advent of sail. Science is developing from alchemy. Very few could read or write and communication was by word of mouth.

C. Victorian: Modern warfare, sophistication and experimentation. The industrial complex is in full swing with the population moving off the land into the cities and factories. Mythology has given way to fact. Exploration is now of the past. New ideas of deportment and class distinctions, fashions. There are the mega-wealthy who live in mansions and the desperately poor who live on the streets or in pitiful one bedroom flats. There are newspapers, magazines and books. It is the age of the machine.

And I have other thoughts on each era. But the one question I have to ask myself is this: When would magic have had the most impact if discovered? A equals a nasty death by virtually anyone; with some serious torture if discovered by the Church. B. the same result. C. Well. The practitioner could end up in a circus, or exploited, or be sensationalised in the media, then disregarded as a sham.

I think I’ll have to do a bit more research on the eras. And on names. I have to find some appropriate names. This is the second most fun in writing – plunging into history and rolling around in facts. The actual story writing is the most fun.

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