Do Your Research
So with my second book, The Jarl's Shadow at the publisher, one would think I would take some time to relax. Maybe watch movies, play video games, or even read books by other authors.
I am already working on my third book in the trilogy, titled "The Hammer of The Bear." What do I mean by "working?" I could start freewriting to get my ideas down and go with what comes to mind, and yes, I will be doing that. However, the first thing I do before starting a new book is research.
The Hammer of the Bear is based around the main character, Adnar Raynecksson. From the beginning of the trilogy in A GAME OF GODS, Adnar is the oldest of three siblings, and he is a Blacksmith by trade.
Since Blacksmithing is his chosen profession, I am researching not only how to do Blacksmithing but also what it takes to be a Blacksmith. I also have the privilege of knowing a childhood friend whose father was an actual blacksmith.
So we have Adnar, the main character, and he is a Blacksmith. So what am I going to do with Adnar? Well, I am going to talk to him. I want to become his friend. So far, he has been a supporting character in the trilogy, so now I want to take the opportunity to know him.
So like anyone who takes an interest in becoming someone's friend, I will focus my attention on him, his life, and his profession. I will stop by his forge from time to time and observe his work. I will ask him about the way he pounds the metal. I will ask about proper heat and when is the best time to shape the metal. I will ask him about the things he makes. Since the family of Rayneck and all of Numitgart are Viking ancestors, I will search the repositories of knowledge about Viking Blacksmiths and what sets them apart in such a profession.
There will be times when I run into Adnar during the day, and I will strike up conversations with him. What is his life like? How are things with his wife and young daughter? What has happened in Numitgart since the end of the Jarl's Shadow, where he married a young native girl? The story in my mind will take place some five years after the events of The Jarl's Shadow, and I am going to need to understand how things have progressed, and how the world has moved on.
I will go back over my notes and manuscripts from the previous two books in doing my research. From these writings, I will see if there were any unanswered questions that Adnar's story might be able to close for me.
As this story takes place several years in the future from the second book, it will allow me to flesh out a more stable environment and world. The world of Threa, where these stories stem from, is a fantastic place full of limitless possibilities. I wrote the world into being so it would be just that. A world where everything you want to believe is real.
Now I will want to know how that world and Adnar interact with each other. What is his place in it? Already, we see that he is a Blacksmith, a husband, and a father. He has two younger siblings who were the main characters in the previous two books. We also know that he is the eldest son of Rayneck the Red, Jarl of Numitgart, and is a member of the ruling family. How will these complexities fit into his story?
As I talk to Adnar daily and learn more about him, I will want to take him on an adventure. Or rather, I should say, I want to chronicle an adventure he will go on because Adnar is not just words on paper. He is a manifestation. As soon as I start writing about him, he will become as real as any image or person.
So what sort of adventure would a Blacksmith go on? What is nearest and dearest to him? What would he risk life and limb for? How will his profession, his life, and his position factor into that adventure?
As I begin to discuss this adventure with Adnar, I will, of course, need to define his antagonist. Is it a person? An event or situation? Is it from his environment, or is it more of an inner struggle? Will I bring back previous antagonists from A GAME OF GODS and The Jarl's Shadow, or will I inject a new antagonist into his story?
Now while this all sounds rather complex, to me, it is not. Why? Because I will listen to Adnar. He will tell me his story, and I will write it just as I wrote the story for Jon and then Amra Raynecksson. They, in turn, told me what to write, and I merely chronicled their adventures.
Do your research beforehand. Do more research on the fly as you go. The key component, though, is...listen to your characters. They will tell you what to write. You just need to open your mind and listen.
Until next time...
Blessed Be The Balance!
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