The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

No writing yet today. Don't know if I'll get to it or not. I need to take a deep breath and plunge into the next phase of this w-f-h project, not spend time on my own stuff.

I picked out some nice meaty research books for Christmas and have been reading them in drips and drabs. By "meaty" I mean dry and factual. I suppose that's not what most people mean by "meaty," and maybe I don't usually, either, but in this case dry and factual is great because it tells me exactly what I need to know. As a bonus, these books have pictures, maps, plans, etc.

There have been mostly two ways to approach this (former) GN so far. One would be to set the story in a vaguely legendary/mythological world and concentrate on the characters and the emotional side of it--which would probably be more accessible, and would require less research. The other way would be to set it in classical Greece, which would probably feel deeper and help world-building. There's a ton of information on that time and culture, and that's what most people think when they think Ancient Greece.

So far I've cherry-picked from the two approaches, using whatever suits my agenda (the author admits frankly). I have also been pulling whatever I feel like pulling from the actual time of the Trojan War, which was probably around (not googling here, so I may be off) 125o-1180 B.C.

It's harder to get details on that time period than it is on classical Greece. Knowledge seems spotty and some of the people writing about it seem to have their own agendas. I have to track down and special order books about it, and even then a good portion of the info has to be taken with a grain of salt.

But anyway, the point is that after a small rash of meaty factual books re. that time period, I feel like backing off for a sec and rethinking one facet of my WIP. I have blithely blown off any aspects of the Mycenaean period (or of mythology or of classical culture) that don't fall into line with what I want to do. However, it's time to admit that what looks from a distance like noble warfare was probably actually violent, petty raiding--attacking settlements and killing the men, in order to steal the cattle and the women. The raiders enslaved the women (in every possible way), and I guess they eventually ate the cattle. This is what made a man admired and valued, in that society. This is what brought him wealth, fame, property, and respect.

Where I come from (TX), cattle rustlers and horse thieves are historically the lowest of the low. There is a tree less than a mile from my house where horse thieves were allegedly hanged. Without trial, because in those days you didn't need a trial to hang anyone who stole stock. It's hard to see the nearly-immortal Achilles, and Odysseus, and Ajax--and Helen's brother Castor--as raiders swooping down to steal cows and women and children. I hope Hector, at least, wasn't into that, since he lived in a different part of the world. But we'll see. Maybe he was.

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