Monday, February 28, 2011

Researching The Fantasy Western

Here's an update about my latest writing project. As you know from my previous blog entries, I am currently contracted to produce a novel-length story for Hall Brothers Entertainment. This story will be run as an 8-part serial sometime later this year, and then be released in book format (possibly with some exciting extras from yours truly).

This "Fantasy Western," which blends the setting of a classic Western with the might and magic of Sword and Sorcery, is proving to be one of my more researched tales. I've done quite a bit of research in the past with other books, most notably to double check the science for my hard SF tales, and to keep things somewhat realistic, so I'm no stranger to fact-finding missions. However, it seems every time I turn around with this new book, I'm stopping to pick up a different reference text. Who knew writing "the old west the way it wasn't" would involve so much history?

There are two reasons I'm doing so much research with this project. The first is what I always do, to keep things realistic (which is very important, even when you have a warlock for a sheriff and a dwarf gunslinger amongst your cast of characters). The second and most involved factor is the commingling of history with fantasy.

Without giving too much away, several real-life individuals will make guest appearances in this story. To place them in the right context, and in order to make their appearance logical, I'm using actual events that took place, and rewriting them just a little to match the Fantasy theme of the tale. I've done my best to make these people act in a way that fits their true, historical backgrounds.

As a recreational aside, I've also been reading a few Louis L'Amour books recently, hoping to see how one of the greatest Western writers in history did it. They have been entertaining diversions. His writing style was certainly different than mine, and his attention to detail was phenomenal. He actually spent time visiting the physical locations where his books took place, and learned every last detail about the surroundings and how people lived in those locales. That sort of hands-on research is a bit beyond my monetary limits at the moment, so I'll just have to settle for written descriptions and let my imagination fill in the rest.

I expect all of this added work will pay off, and later this year you can all be the judges of that. The story will be displayed for free at Hall Brothers Entertainment, so even those who are impoverished or just too darn cheap can enjoy the fruits of my hard labor. Later on, if some of you like what you read, you might even consider buying the published book.

Who knows, this could be the beginning of a whole new sub-genre.

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