Friday, August 13, 2010

Goodbye, Scarborough

Despite my earnest wish for my heroine of my Forest of Lies sequel to make it to Scarborough, the sea-town where Robin Hood allegedly got a job on board a fishing ship, and then defeated some pirates...I have decided for the moment to cut it from Yvette's already lengthy trek across ancient England.

The reason for this slaughter? It cuts off 50 miles and hopefully a bit of writing on a book that was getting quite lengthy and something repetitive. Now the mysterious villain will hold Yvette's father in York, instead, or even Leeds.

I do love British town names. The other places we get to visit in Etched in Black? Nottingham, Mansfield, and Sheffield. I think I cut Doncaster. *consults "G" Encyclopedia* Aye, there's no reason for Doncaster unless...oh, but there's some mountains. Interesting. I keep forgetting England has mountains. They might go through Doncaster after swerve East and away from the mountains, but Lincoln is definitely out of the question, much as I'd like to visit that in Etched too.

Know something? Encyclopedias can be a historical fiction novelist's best friends. I myself have The World Book Encyclopedia, the 1990 version. Also in my pile today is a "World Atlas" book where I doubled-checked those skimpy mountains. Another of my tools this morning was Google maps, where I took a look at how much of Yvette's journey I'd cut off by not going all the way to Scarborough. Of course, the miles depend on the roads traveled and modern things, but I'm not really look at hours. Though I do far can a sixteen-year-old, two fourteen-year-olds, and a twenty-three-year-old walk in one day? Nottingham to York is still a good 100 miles, and that was calculated without the Doncaster detour. I'll have to find that out sometime.

All writers can testify to the strange google searches, but historical fiction have more and sometimes less fun ones--like trying to figure out something, ANYTHING, about King John's rule beyond the Magna Carta, which is nigh on impossible. I did find out that England was put under some kind of punishment by the Pope in 1208 (I'm always forgetting the specific name of what it was), and all the churches were shut down. I'm still trying to figure out how to bring that up in the book, because quite by coincidence, my book takes place in 1208.

Aye, you're reading the date right as well: it is a Friday, and contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually neglecting TheoEc, even though probably no one would care if I did. What I'm now neglecting is actually working on Etched in Black, and I'd better get back to that. I'm very encouraged with the work so far--I've already figured out the answers to some of the bugs that have been around for a year. Hopefully I'll figure out more!

I did so want to go to Scarborough. Oh well.


Image from Wikipedia.


Annie P. said...

Amen! It's so hard to find any 12-13th century records out there. When I first started my Robin Hood historical fiction thing, there was no information about my main character except for a name and a birth year. Then, a good ways into the story, I did some more research and found an obscure article about her on an obscure history website. In French. Once Google Translate kicked in, I found out that my character had been married for three years before the story started. Now I have to work an angsty husband in, and when I last left my character, she was in shackles in the Nottingham dungeon. Dressed as a nun. The fun never ends.

Anyway. Sorry you had to cut out Scarborough. But I'm sure there will be some really fun places in Yvette's road trip. Happy writing!

Nairam said...

I finally have found what seems to be a brilliant book on the subject of 12 & 13 centuries, but as I'm still editing the actual story aspect of the book instead of working on the historical aspect, I haven't studied it a lot yet. It's amazing, though. I shall have to find its name and author.

I've done research like that before, too. It took me forever to realize that Ralph Murdoc wasn't Sheriff for the length of time that I implied, so how on earth did he get Robin...turned out make the back story work better, thankfully. It makes a mess now and again, but I think it stimulates my imagination, too!

You as well! Its fun to meet other Robin Hood retellers or historical fiction writers in general...I'm surrounded by fantasy people...

Thanks for commenting!

Sandy said...


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