How are you? fellow readers and this time fellow writers too! It has been a bit since I wrote a writing dedicate post, but I finally found the time.
This won’t be a particular post at all, just a list of text that I explored for creating the world of my current writing project, OUAL. I thought about writing some more complex topic, but then I have a hard look at my face in the mirror and I realized that… I didn’t want to 😂
I’m just not in the right mood for that and there’s the whole year for being heavy. So, let’s roll on in the non fiction world!
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Maybe you started following me today, or yesterday or not so long ago. So, maybe you’re asking yourself: wtf is OUAL?
I wrote that is my current writing project, to be clearer, that something that writers call WIP.
This isn’t the first time I talk about OUAL, so if you’re interested, you can learn more about it, you should check out me into post. Or more like… the rant that I wrote down about all the issue I had with my first project, aka WIP I, and how I decided to switch to OUAL or WIP II. You can find it here.
A more interesting post, that dig inside the aesthetic of OUAL and its important details, can be found in this post. I’m still very proud of it and maybe one day I’ll have time to write something more about the characters (that I’m keeping as secret), but for now that’s all you’ve to know.
ENTERING ITALY FROM THE NORTH….
Oh, actually entering Italy from the north isn’t a straight path. Various region reign on the Italy’s top, and a little one tends to get often forgotten. Probably, if I asked to some of you what is Valle d’Aosta, I would be greeted by silence.
That’s fine. I surely don’t pretend you all to know… but this is a read occasion to expand your horizon.
As I approached the idea of writing “Italian fantasy”, I elaborate the goal to write a story for every region of the country. I started to think about: what kind of place would suit better the atmosphere I had in mind for OUAL? Memory of my childhood vacations in Valle d’Aosta immediately came to my mind. So, my decision was made.
But what books did I read?
For a start, I did a thing that I always do when I start my research: reading a tour guide! Sadly, there are very few Valle d’Aosta centred guides. That’s because of the territorial exestuations of the region, not its history which remain rich and vast. It’s not unusual to catch a guide that talk both of Valle d’Aosta and Piemonte region, instead of one only for the first region.
Anyway, the Touring Club came to my help! The guide was very useful to establish the structure of OUAL world.
At a certain moment I started to think that writing OUAL was some sort of destiny, best decision ever made. It was thanks to the cooking book! Because I discovered I already it! It was an incredible surprise and it was published by a regional publisher. On the inside, aside from delicious recipes, I found interesting pages about the old eating habits!
Much less of a use were the books about Valle d’Aosta’s tales and a brief guide to the most important borghi of the region. The last was surely a good guide, useful in the necessary case, but that wasn’t mine. Terribile was reading the book of tale! There was no trace of folklore was stories of everyday life. But that’s not what is bad: the first tale I read was wildly sexist and I dropped out of the book once the ableism reached its peak.
The best books were the ones dedicated to folklore. Valle d’Aosta offer a type of folklore heavily based on Christianity but not because there was lack of, what now we call, pagan roots. Sadly, those roots were chased away by persecution enacted by the church… but no surprise here.
Anyway, the collection of tales, with all its imagery of devils were useful and so was Centini’s novel! While it focusses more on a nearer region, which is Piemonte, I was able to find a good number of interesting mentions about mythological figures. One about a soul procession made quite an impression.
WITCHES, PAGAN AND OCCULT HERE WE GO
When I first thought: “I want to write about witches”, I started a research about witches in Valle d’Aosta. I wanted to find an interesting tale about some peculiar figure… only two don’t find anything. Well, actually I did catch something, but it was an historical event. Despite the fact that it’s related to witch trials, that wasn’t what I was searching for because: 1) my witches are important in OUAL world, not outcast 2) they don’t do anything of what the accused “witches” did.
Reasons why I started to dig inside the Wicca and the witches. I already knew a good number of facts about both of them, but it still helped me discern more clearly some differences. Basically, I learnt three things: 1) difference between them and how are still one near to another 2) an enormous but almost complete guide to create my witches 3) I probably will be a witch and going fully into it once I live alone.
Approaching the realm of magic or everything else that we usually see as detached from reality, I found a very cute series: “A little bit of…” and the rest is up to you. In my case, I read a book dedicate to fairies and one to astrology. My personal suggestion, if you want to get near this kind of books, is to read them if you are searching for some peculiar text. You won’t get a full knowledge, but both books I read are quite poetic and less focused on direct theory. So, it’s not exactly the best guide ever.
I found the book about fairies quite…. delirious. Long from me to mock whoever believe in faeries and affirm to see them, but reading this one was quite an experience. Something I could say for the astrology book.
The occultism book was… interesting. But not useful for me at all. Also, the version I found was a free one (thanks to Archive.org) but the file arrived all messed up and my Kindle really did a job on it. I think my poor mind died over astrology charts and palmistry.
Lisa Chamberlain was my saviour with her mini books dedicated to Wicca. Her writing is also the one that put me in a serene state, because I was assured how I can still start the path of the witch (not the Wicca, because some stuff isn’t for me).
Anyway, if you’re a newbie to the topic, I think that these books can work as a very good introduction. I based a lot of stuff on things I read in these ones, and got tons of inspiration for developing my own system and world.
There’s so much to talk about, but I think that with the witch related parts, I’m done. All the others book I’ll read next will work as a plus in my writing (correction that I can add later) and for my personal path.
LET’S CROSS THE SEA TO REACH…
Originally, OUAL was supposed to feature characters only from the nation inspired by Valle d’Aosta… but I’m not a person that likes to make things simple for herself.
I started to think: “Wouldn’t be so cool to add characters from somewhere else?” This is how two important people were born in my mind.
I always found the prospect of no longer existing civilization to be an interesting ground for creating new people and nations. One ancient Italian civilization, aka the Etruscan, were already signed up for another nation in WIP I. But so were the Minoans.
When these characters came alive, I immediately knew where they are from and this is how I focused on researching the Minoans. This also work as a double research for when I’ll be picking up WIP I again.
My research about Minoans, are still quite the start. The fact that they hold a minor importance to the world, because WIP II will take place in a fantasy Valle d’Aosta, helps me. I can permit myself to make things a little bit easier and don’t research in every possible detail everything I can put my hands on.
Reading the touristic guide helped me shaping the island, a little pamphlet about war (not present in the images) really didn’t add much, The Seascape in Aegean Prehistory is still to be read. But the book that helped me write down 27 pages of worldbuilding notes, it’s Castleden book! That was a unique blessing that gave me tons of ideas.
So, this part is a little still “under construction” but I feel like it’s going to work out really well.
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DO YOU WRITE BOOK THAT REQUIRE THIS KIND OF RESEARCH? OR DO YOU PREFER SOMETHING THAT NEEDS A QUICK INTERNET CHECK? WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH IS YOUR FAVORITE?