Fantasy writing is research intensive as anyone could probably guess. Research in general isn't my favorite activity. I much prefer to be writing my story than figuring out details such as what is the average precipitation on an island the size of Prana. [This wasn't as easy to answer as I thought, since it depends on the area of the island. Maui, for instance, ranges from 17 inches to 300 inches depending on the location!]. Lucky for me the next novel involves war and my husband happens to be a military expert.
The Shadow Apprentice takes place quite a bit on a military base. I took some scratch paper and started figuring out just what types of buildings needed to be on the base. I knew, though, that I must be forgetting some important things. My husband is a Captain in the Army Reserves and spent a year in Iraq. So instead of doing internet searches and camping out in libraries, I just casually handed my husband the sketch and asked for help. After a minute of looking at it he had a ton of suggestions.
I also needed to figure out just how many officers and enlisted personnel I needed. How many colonels are there compared to captains? I don't know how long it would have taken me to research that information normally. Luckily, all l had to do was lean over to him and say, "Honey, how many junior officers are there per senior officers?" And in seconds he was rattling off numbers.
There are a lot more complications that have to be worked out. For instance, Prana was founded around the time of the Salem Witch Trials in Colonial America (about 1690) before the revolutionary war. So using a modern American structure--or even a revolutionary war structure--doesn't quite work. Plus, they're witches and the culture is much different. So there is much that I have to think about and change. I do think that it's necessary to at least in part use modern structures so that the fantasy is grounded in reality.
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On a completely different note, the word waiting feels a bit stale to me. I think I've been overusing it lately. If you're a writer like me in the midst of trying to sell a book you may feel the same. [One of the writers in my critique group recently got a request for a full nine months after she queried. She's probably sick of waiting, too.]
Here's a handy list of alternatives for the W word:
Hold your Fire
Hold your Horses
2 hours ago