The past two weeks have largely been focussed on music writing, of which I had accumulated an enormous backlog… It’s gotten to the stage where I’m having to put some of my very favourite submissions into album roundups rather than individual features, otherwise I’ll never get on top of it all. I’m pretty sure they get a fair assessment regardless, and it’s entirely possible that I write better when I’m forced to constrain my word count. Anyway, you can read all of that malarkey here: http://oliverarditi.com.
What I have managed to do fiction-wise is to finish another map. There’s something about drawing a map, and getting it really precise and ‘final’ looking, that brings the world sharply into focus for me. This one shows a region adjacent to the one that I intend to set my stories in for the near future; it’s important for me to have the surrounding areas mapped out, because that sense of looking through a small window at a large world is what I’m aiming for in my writing. Ölnezea is starting to feel like a real place to me now, with a complex psycho-geography, where I can say that a particular character is formed a certain way because of certain ethnic and cultural conditions whose traces are fully realised in the names on my map, instead of just nebulous ideas like ‘well, over there, there’s some nomad type dudes…’
Other than that it’s been research. If I get a book to give me ideas and material I
usually just keep it knocking around the general vicinity of the chair I sit in to write, and pick it up when I feel like I need to, or when I just can’t be arsed to type anything. WithSydney Anglo’s The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe I decided I couldn’t afford the considerable expense of buying it, and I could only get it on an inter-library loan, so time is limited, and as a consequence I’ve been going through it chapter by chapter, making notes. Not very copious notes, and mainly of the nature of ideas for my background, rather than paraphrasing the book: it’s more about the whole soaking up of a realistic view of period violence, so that I don’t just end up writing from a lot of received misapprehensions and clichés (Zorro, anyone?). The book has proven to be well worth the effort, rigorously researched, cogently argued, and often very amusingly written, particularly in regard to the more bizarre claims and inconsistencies of the sources. I’ve nearly finished, and then I hope to get stuck into writing some narrative again… I’m itching to get the third part of The Blackswords out there.