Friday, September 12, 2014

Cheryl Carpinello on First-Hand Research @CCarpinello #AmReading #Tween #Adventure

at 8:00 AM
First-Hand Research: How to Gather and What to Use When Setting the Scene
Up to this point in my writing, I’ve written two stories set in medieval Wales using my historical knowledge gained from teaching Arthurian Legend for 25 years, by reading about Wales, and by doing more research on medieval times. This type of research is usually good enough for any author unless a reader happens to live in the actual or modern setting of the book!
I found this out when one of my readers from Wales wrote and explained a mistake I had made when one of my characters attempted to climb St. David’s Head in a rain storm. To paraphrase, she said, “In a storm like you’ve described, Philip (my character) would literally have to be climbing up St. David’s Head on his hands and knees. There is no way he could be upright!”
So I’m spending this week to experience Wales first-hand to be sure I get the small details right in the next book.
Trying to determine what information to record is overwhelming and leads to several questions. What should a writer focus on? How can a writer know what details will be essential? How can a writer avoid an information overload?
Here’s my answers to those three questions based on writing a sequel to Young Knights.
1. What should a writer focus on?
  • Landscape—While I used Manorbier and Pembroke castles in my story, it is likely that in the 400/500s those structures may not have existed except in my mind. However, the surrounding countryside is still similar: type of vegetation, trees, and flowers; is the land flat, hilly, marshy, irrigated? This may have changed from Medieval times, but not a great deal.
  • Sounds—As I travel around Wales, I tune into the sounds around me. Birds talk and call, and I jot down what they sound like and what type of landscape I am traveling through when I hear them. Wales has a long beautiful coastline. How far away am I when I hear the waves crashing into the rocks, or, in the case of Cardigan Bay, when the waves rush onto the sandy beach? Does the wind roar as on St. David’s Head, or does it gently brush the branches of the trees. Does the rain pound down on the ground digging holes into the dirt? Or does it slice the air sideways as it frequently does in Colorado? What does the silence sound like, or is it ever silent here in the land of Arthurian legend?
  • People—As a rule, the general nature of people does not change over the years. I take take note of areas that have been openly welcome to me, friendly but reserved, or guarded and cautious. I have encountered the first two, but not the last.
2. How can a writer know what details will be essential?
This is hard. Until submersing myself in a story, I don’t know. However, by focusing on the five senses—seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling—I can put down more descriptive notations. For example: It isn’t enough to describe how the crashing waves explode and echo up the towering cliff. When my character is talking to another at the top of that cliff, will he/she be able to taste the salt on his/her tongue? Could I?
3. How can a writer avoid an information overload?
This is an easy answer, but one that even I didn’t apply until I wrote my upcoming release Sons of the Sphinx. We had visited Egypt in 2008 and took a bundle of pictures. As I was writing, I pulled out my pictorial journal to refresh my memory of what the country and monuments actually looked like.
In addition to taking copious notes when traveling, I taken enough pictures to almost fill up the memory card for my camera. I haven’t used my phone too much for pictures because I find a camera easier to access and print my pictures.
These pictures will supplement my notes and help me to recall Wales more vividly.
If you have any other suggestions for gathering and using first-hand research, please share those with us.


Young Knights

Action Adventure Kindle Book

Three Friends. Three Quests. Three Mysterious Predictions.

At Pembroke Castle in medieval Wales,11-year-old Prince Gavin, 13-year-old orphan Philip, and 15-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan, brought together in friendship by the one they call The Wild Man, embark upon a quest to save The Wild Man's life when he is accused of murder and robbery. If they have any hope of succeeding, the three will have to confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. But it is the arrival of King Arthur and what he reveals that surprises characters and readers.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Tween Adventure
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Cheryl Carpinello through Facebook

Author Bio

I love the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! As a retired English teacher, I hope to inspire young readers to read more through my Quest Books. Please follow me on this adventure. On Carpinello’s Writing Pages, I interview other children/MG/Tween/YA authors. At The Quest Books, I’ve teamed up with Fiona Ingram from South Africa and Wendy Leighton-Porter of England/France/Abu Dhabi to enable readers to find all of our Ancient and Medieval quest books in one place.
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Purchase Links for Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom

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