Research, a slippery slope.

I started writing fantasy maybe, oh, 15 years ago, and one of the fun things about it has always been world building.  There’s something immensely satisfying about putting together countries, factions, monarchies and all the little details that make up a fantasy world.

There was also the advantage that, for me, original world fantasy came with a lot less of an onus on research. I know vaguely what a sword looks like, so I could work around that, but other than that it’s largely minor detail compared to the facets of the world itself.

Hell, world building is pretty much the only thing that really resonates about my time writing Bard of Dreams. I’ve never been a huge stickler for detail, but I do enough to get by.

And then I started writing historical urban fantasy, not realising that the amount of research I would have to do scales up rather dramatically. I’ll be honest, I don’t stick too rigidly to historical detail, because – as I recall – England never experienced an invasion of elves in the 1890s, but there was so much more detail I felt I needed to get right. Things like the rifles used by the British army, or the layout of London in that time.

And so, for a good part of Call of Herne I find myself on Wikipedia or other sources looking up details. I know, I know, Wikipedia isn’t the most credible source in the universe, but some of the stuff on there has been damned useful in getting this book right. The downside of not building your own world from scratch ia that you have to make sure the one you’re in is at least a reasonable facsimile of the truth.

Thankfully, there is plenty of source material from the 1890s that I can use to put the story together. There’s a map of London from 1890 that has been absolutely invaluable in plotting the final battle, and there are some excellent weaponry sites that give me details on the performance of things like Gatling guns and the Martini-Henry rifle that most of my characters are using.

Now, so long as I can stop myself wandering off onto other articles, we’re all good!

-Ben.

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