Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning is FUNdemental...or learning can make you mental, it's basically the same thing with me.

So I have three pages of one of my stories written. Many of the scenes and part of the plot is laid out in my head, I just have to get it written down. It's damn hard. I have so many things to learn.

So many things to learn about writing. And so many things to learn about the things the world my characters will inhabit.

Let's put aside the learning about writing for a minute and list the things I want to learn myself so that when my main character is learning them it can be real. And if it's something my other characters know well, I better have a fair grasp of it too. I can't just make all this shit up, people. Well...I could...but I don't want to.

Some of this can be googled and book learned. But some I will want to do myself.

In no particular order:

Old-school "hiking and camping" - What does it feel like to have to walk twenty miles a day or more for three days (or more) to get to where you need to be? Especially when you're weighed down with all the stuff you need to have to make camp and eat each night. It'll be hard to cut out weight in your pack without access to anything plastic or nylon. How do make a campfire so that you don't burn down the field or woods your sleeping in? How do you start a fire with flint and steel? What foods travel best? Jerky, biscuits, and cheese I'm guessing. How do you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Layers is probably the answer to that last one. Cooking over a campfire when you only have iron pots...or no pots.
Cooking in general - where do you get yeast to make bread when you can't buy the stuff at the store? how was cheese made? Wine? How were animals slaughtered and preserved? How were sweet things made, pastries and cakes and pies? Where did they get salt? How is it collected?

basic knot tying

Wearing leather and/or chainmail for days or weeks at a time - what does it feel like and also how bad do humans really stink after trail riding and camping for a week or more and only bathing maybe once.

Metalsmithing - This shouldn't be terribly hard to find. There's plenty of renn faire smiths around.

Herb lore - Lots and lots of books on that, workshops too. I need to know how you forage for the plants, how you can test them for properties, how they're stored, how to make tinctures, how do you know how much to give for a dose?

Bow and snare hunting - alone or as a group effort. TheMan is going to help me learn to shoot a bow at a target, but he doesn't hunt. I don't know that I actually want to kill anything either. Maybe interviewing some bow hunters will be enough. We'll see.

Horseback riding and taking care of a horse- Both with a saddle and without. What does it feel like to learn how to work with the horse and learn how to direct it? What does it feel like to ride thirty miles a day when previously you've only ridden a horse a couple of times, on a trail, for no more than half an hour. What does it feel like to ride a horse at full gallop? How is a spirited horse a different ride from a placid one? Do horses really like goats? What's fully entailed in keeping and caring for horses? I have friends who can help me with this, lucky for me.

Running - yes, I'm getting into the most basic beginnings of running...but how does it feel to run fully dressed and weighed down with weapons? When you're running for your life?

Combat - western hand to hand, boxing styles, sword, long knives, daggers, staves. I'm interested in fencing, but that's not what I need to know for this story. I need the real radioactive stuff, the brutal sword combat knowledge. I know where I can learn the boxing, but the sword combat...maybe I can find a contact through the SCA? What does it really feel like to have someone twice your size advancing on you with a broadsword and a nasty grin? What does it feel like to have to learn how to hold a sword when you're a thirty year old woman from a place where people don't, in general, attack you with swords on a daily basis?

Cartography and how land forms in general shape the way a civilization grows (or doesn't grow) - There will be maps and I want a basic knowledge of how they used to be made. Also, how do I lay out my kingdoms? Can you just decide to stick mountains and rivers and forests anywhere? Short answer, no, you can't. Not if you want your lands to be real.

Early scientific research - What did they use?  No doubt some of the same things apothecaries used. Braziers? And...other stuff. Clay pots and vials. How did they get enough light to do experiments? What did they study? How did they record their findings?

Scribe stuff  - paper, vellum, parchment, quills, pencils, charcoal sticks... how was it first made, what substances can be used, what is the most sturdy? How are books made? The actual creation of the book itself, not what's written in it. What was entailed in hand copying books before the printing press?

Early math - let's not even think about it right now. Just put it down there. Math.

Windows - When did true glass windows first come into use and how were they made? Not stained glass, just plain glass windows. How were the panes set into the window frame?

Mirrors - when did people start using glass for mirrors and what did they use to paint the back of them when they were first invented?
Water supplies, waste and sewage handling in towns and cities and buildings. How bad did it really stink? If you did it right, would it be tolerable?

More will probably come to me, but that's it for now.

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