Monday, June 22, 2009

Not Going According To the Master Plan

...of not having to research.  That's the whole point of doing fantasy.  That's why I gave up at historical fiction at the tender age of twelve.  Yet, things are not happening the way they should. In fact, Hades and Athena have unfortunately foisted my heroes out of the fantasy-land of the underworld and into the horror that is sixth century BC Sparta.  That's right, friends, I totally made up a time frame for Theseus.  Historically, the mythical Theseus was supposed to have been around during 1200s BC, but Sparta just wasn't around then.  Plus, Theseus is probably made up anyway, so I figure if I shove him into a random time during Ancient Greece, no one has to know. 

We can also ignore the fact that Athens was a democracy and doesn't have a king in the sixth century.  Right?  Thebes was an oligarchy...close enough to a monarchy.  Right?


I mean, gods weren't real, and here they are, traipsing around the Grecian mainland.  We can pretend this is a fictionalized Greece.  This is what THE WRITER says.  THE WRITER is in control of THE NOVEL.  Even though THE WRITER is apparently subject to the whims of Hades and Athena.  Because without them, THE WRITER wouldn't be having these irksome problems.

So anyway, I have been studying the climate, geography, and culture of Greece.  Sparta in particular because that is our first stop.  Did you know Sparta had this cool/awful annual ritual called the crypteia where male citizens are told to go out and kill a helot (slave-ish person)?  It's like a rite into manhood plus keeping the slaves down.  Two birds with one stone!  Oh yeah, Sparta sounds like a dandy place to live.

...I hate Sparta.

Unfortunately, Meg and Theseus have to go there.  And chillax with the helots.  I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Where I'm going with this is my utter dismay at having to research things.  I have all sorts of maps lying around my room right now, like I'm a freaking cartographer.  However, now I know where there are mountains and where there are plains.  And exactly where Sparta, Athens, Thebes, and Troezen are.  And Troy!  Seriously, I never knew where Troy was, which made the whole Trojan War thing a bit hard to grasp.

Research is no fun.  Even learning gruesome tidbits about Spartan life is no fun.  Because Sparta is no fun.  Sparta is horrible.  Can we please leave Sparta now?  So I can leave Wikipedia and tuck my history book back into the bowels of my bookshelf where it can rightfully gather dust in cheerful disuse?


  1. The Writer is in control of the novel? Really? My characters are at the wheel, not me.

  2. Spart is horrible? C'mon. Sparta is awesome. Their military tactics were incredible for the time period. Oh, and I almost lost it at your capitalized "writer" paragraph. I had to take a moment - stop laughing - and then I could read further. Perhaps now you will no longer hold any illusions about who is in charge? :)

  3. Sparta is cool! I love that place XD

    Anyways, I too am stuck in the hell of research. It seems that midway in Mystica, the novel took a complete 360 degree turn in setting. Looks like the novel mighe be moving from Edinburgh (Scotland) to Venice (Italy). Well, talk about a big change - -

  4. On a second thought, I thought you major in history? LOL. History major hates research? Good luck with Sparta. It seems I'm stuck with Venice. Ugh. Now everybody has to have Italian names... And talk about a change in local customs, lifestyle, and setting description!

  5. Sparta was a better place to be in that Athens if you were a woman. More freedom. But if you were a slave, Sparta would not be the place to be.


    Luck on your research. :D

  6. Haha, thanks for the input, guys. Yes, I am a history major, but I mentioned once the reason I don't like research for fiction. I have a hard time meshing solid fact with storytelling. Don't ask me why. I just get either hung up on the history part or the fiction part.

    Very true, Danyelle. Sparta was fabulous if you were a woman. If you made it that far, because sometimes girls were tossed out to die on the road, but you know. If you parents decided not to...

    Nonetheless, I am still a bigger fan of Athens.