I find that my current work in process, THE BARD’S GIFT is going more slowly than is usual for me in a first draft. Sometimes, I find this frustrating. Then I remember the difference between my other stories and THE BARD’S GIFT: it’s not a straight fantasy in which I can make many of the details up to suit myself. It’s an alternate history.
That means that periodically, I have to stop what I’m doing to research something. Oh, I did plenty of research before I ever started the story. In fact, the trick with the initial research is not to put all of it into the story, like writing a term paper.
But it’s amazing how many little details you don’t realize you need until you get there. Some of them, I can just mark and go on to fill in the details later. Others are more critical to the flow of a scene or chapter and have to be addressed before I can go on.
At this point, I’m having to go back to the Vinland Sagas themselves to find some of the answers. The thing is, something that I plan to turn into a chapter–like the voyage from Greenland to Iceland–is given perhaps a paragraph in the sagas. And at that it’s usually backwards–the voyage from Iceland to Greenland. It does give me some pointers, at least. Landmarks, in the literal sense.
Having to stop every few pages to look something up does interrupt the creative flow, though.
And I haven’t even gotten my characters to North America, yet. Wait until I have to start doing spot research on thunderbirds.
Back to work.