East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Historical Fantasy – Fleshing Out the Background

Sometimes being too clever is not so clever in the long run.
When I first sketched my characters of Aculeo and Amunet, I was not actually writing a story.
I was explaining how to play fast and loose when putting together a very basic sword & sorcery plot.

So, when sketching Aculeo, it felt like a good idea to make him a veteran of the Siege of Palmyra, AD 272.
Sounded cool.

revolt_barbariansFast forward 12 months, and Aculeo & Amunet had their own story – which is set in a swamp somewhere north of Menphis and south-east of Alexandria, Aegypt, AD 276.
Total background research required – one afternoon, plus one evening watching two old peplum movies.
Nice and smooth.

Another six months, and my heroes have their first ebook, a number of nice reviews, and their own series, with two other stories being written.

And here’s the problem – because it’s all right playing fast and loose when you are writing a one-shot short story.
But when you start handling a series, and your characters start exploring their world, you need to put down something more than six paragraphs of notes. Especially if you are using a psaeudo-historical setting.
The historical part is the one which requires some care – you can still improvise in the psaeudo- sections*.

And here’s the big surprise – choosing the Third Century AD in the Mediterranean area was either very smart or very stupid on my part. Continue reading