Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finally getting around to...

August Beautiful People!

I wasn't kidding in my last post when I said that ⅓ of all of my thoughts concern Arthur. When you write 500-1000 words per day, you have to be thinking about the story a lot. It used to be that when I fell asleep, thinking about a scene in Arthur would be a sort of pleasure I gave myself. Now when I go to bed, if I consider writing myself to sleep, my mind reacts with a shudder. This isn't a fun little thing any longer— this is work!
I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
Sort of.

Anyway, this month BP is doing a "friendship edition". Naturally, I'm picking characters from Arthur.

August Beautiful People: Kay and Geraint
Kay (in very modern clothes, how strange)

1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They met when Geraint was fifteen and Kay twenty-one; that was almost fifteen years ago, as Geraint is now twenty-nine and Kay is thirty-six. How close are they is difficult to say. They became fast friends, despite the difference in their ages, but they quarreled and separated when Kay was twenty-six. They didn't see each other for ten years because of that, but on meeting again, they were both secretly very pleased to see the other and affectedly very irritated at the other. There is no awkwardness at being  long apart, though, which I think shows they're pretty close.

2. What's their earliest memory of being friends?
They pulled a prank on the castle steward together, and it was a that moment, sitting in a tree and laughing, that they realized they were friends.

3. Do they fight? How long do they typical fight for?
They argue all the time. B.Q. (Before the Quarrel), they didn't argue as much, but would still get into lively debates, which could last all day. They always parted for the evening as friends, though. They did have the occasional fist fight. A.Q. (After the Quarrel) they are constantly arguing, but as they've been back together for less than twenty-four hours I don't think that's to be expected and shouldn't last.

4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
Geraint and Kay are both sharp-tongued, Geraint because he's painfully blunt and Kay because he's terribly sarcastic. They're both honest (Geraint more so; see former sentence), hate injustice, and are very loyal. There the similarities end: Kay is generally good-natured and jovial, though, while Geraint can tend to brood (particularly A.Q. ); when together, they balance each other out.

5. Who is the leader of the friendship (if anyone)?
B.Q. it might have been Kay, because Geraint looked up to him (as he was the older one and he had just been knighted, rather than being still a page). A.Q., there is none, as Geraint has ceased to care about the latter difference and the former difference is now inconsequential.

6. Do they have any secrets from each other?
B.Q.: none, except for one large one which Kay kept from Geraint. Kay was enamored with a young lady, who Geraint was also in love with. Well, that came out, of course. A.Q. they have many things they haven't shared (an absence of ten years will do that, you know), but nothing which is deliberately secret. After the rent in the friendship, both came to abhor unnecessary deception, particularly Geraint.

7. How well do they know each other's quirks and habits?
B.Q. Very well, as they were with each other as much as possible for five and half years. A.Q. Little quirks don't change a lot over ten years, so I'd say they still know those, although habits are now very different as their respective lives have changed a lot.

8. What kind of things do they like to do together?
B.Q. Hunting, playing pranks, sparring, debating, swimming—they shared almost all of their interests. A.Q. Arguing vehemently.

9. Describe each character's fashion style (use pictures if you'd like!) How are their styles different/similar?
B.Q. Very similar. Young medieval knight/knight-in-training. A.Q. Geraint dresses in the plain clothes of a forester, while Kay still dresses like a noble (well, currently he too is dressed like a forester, because he's living in a cottage in the woods). So their style is actually still pretty much the same when they meet again.

10. How would their lives be different without each other?
Geraint would be left in PEACE (shut up, Geraint) and Kay would be bored without someone worth laughing at (I suppose that's their versions of saying they'd be lonely; certainly it's true that Kay's early twenties would have been friendless, as he didn't meet Bedivere or Raymond till after the split, and Geraint wouldn't have had anyone either. Without the big hubaloo with Kay in his twentieth year, Geraint would have gone through with becoming a knight, only to discover afterwards how much he disliked nobles).

Well! Doing Beautiful People always helps me get out my thoughts about my characters, although (sadly) a lot of what I get worked out changes later. Even if I don't stick to what I wrote here, though, it always helps me, because having some terrible frame to edit and perfect is always easier to work with than a hazy blob that isn't here nor there.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Guest Post

Hello, readers! This post is to inform you that I just did my first guest post, over at The Red Book, a blog for Lord of the Rings fans. I scarcely blog about it, but I really do love LotR (movies and book) and the world of Middle Earth. So pop over and check it out!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Post To Share Random Websites Related to the Middle Ages

Basically right now I think about three things (besides friends and God): my niece, Arthur, and my niece. Just kidding. My niece, Arthur, and school, is what I should have written. Particularly Arthur. I don't feel like sharing any of my precious manuscript right now, and I really have nothing else to say that you haven't already heard, so instead I bring you:

Random Things to Help You with Writing Medieval Fiction*

Because literally that is the only useful thing I have to post.

1. Medieval careers. You're writing along, and up comes a random peasant character who you don't want to waste time developing but who needs to have some kind of job. What did they do back then besides farm and fight, anyhow? Well, here's a link with one HUNDRED careers to pick from: http://abutterflydreaming.com/2009/02/06/100-medieval-careers/
Along the same idea, I recently discovered the Mendel Almshouse Portraits, which were portraits of craftsmen doing their crafts (ex. wire makers, cutlers, butchers, etc.). They were painted in the 15th century, I believe. Starting from the last three pictures on this page, and continuing on the succeeding pages, you can find the portraits here:
I find them pretty fascinating.

2. Medieval Prices. Everybody needs to eat. Your character goes to the store – um, market – and asks the price of that block of cheese. What does the clerk answer? 5 bucks? 3 pounds? This website has a list of English currency and conversions, and a list of the prices of common items (for instance, you could buy 80 pounds of cheese for only 3 shillings, 4 pence).

3. Medieval names. Everyone knows people weren't called Betty or Methuselah back then, but what were they called? You only need the name for a minor character and don't want to spend the time searching. Voila! Here are two lists, one of the top 100 medieval boy names, the other of the top 100 medieval girl names:

4. Medieval weapons. Eventually, you'll likely write a battle scene of some sort. So what did they fight with? Were there pikes in the 1300s or were those used in the 1500s? When did plated armor come about? This list isn't exhaustive, but if you're looking for basic Scottish weaponry, I found it helpful:

5. Medieval titles. What did you call the queen's sister? Did a knight's son have a title? Were barons higher or lower than dukes? These two pages answer those questions:

6. Medieval Heraldry. Ever wondered about the meanings of different colors and symbols on a coat of arms? This website provides that information:
Follow the link, then click "Meaning of Arms" on the left sidebar. From that page, click "List of Heraldic Meanings" on the right sidebar, and it takes you to a large chart with lists of colors, textures, and symbols.

7. Completely random medieval questions. Such as, did they wash? Did they use sheets?
This particular page is about beds in the Middle Ages (note: this website contains information about a variety of other time periods also). Explore the site to see different information about washing clothes, cooking, and other domestic items/habits.

I hope you enjoyed this very useful list and that you find it… useful.

*With some random medieval-ish pictures for you to [hopeful] enjoy.
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