Sunday, December 2, 2012

A drastic change of direction

I've been interested in the Italian renaissance for a long time (in fact, since about 1976 when I played in a large scale campaign set in the period).  From time to time I Have read quite widely in the period -- economic, banking, social and political history as well as well as military.

So where is this leading me?  Well, I want to digest the inchoate mass of data and re-express it as some form of entertainment.   There is too wide a range her, I suspect, for a campaign game; and I can't expect anyone to read  great mass of background just to play a role playing game "correctly."  Popular history can be fun, but I really don't have any sort of hook for non-fiction and I think that to do it right needs more scholaly training and experience than I will ever have.

Fiction, then.  Right now, I am thinking of an historical mystery set in Tuscany somewhere about 1470.  The period and place are well documented and academically popular so research is not a hardship.  I already have a good library on the subject, and the local university libraries are also well stocked.

I am starting by trying to get a grip on factors that shape people - birth, education, careers, death.  In order to move beyond the focused-but-casual reading I have done in the past I have used the old method from my student days: a tub of index cards and short, well-filed, and referenced notes.  I find the simple act of writing helps with my retention, and gives me something to order later when I am trying to filter out anachronism.  I want to write about quattrocento Italians,  not 21st century Canadians in fancy dress.

This will take a long time, so we will see how we do.  It is at least cheap.  And in a century where self-publication is so easy I can at least be certain that if I finish it will be available for people to buy and read.  If they will or no is another matter.

But how about a fun little song from just a little bit later than the period I am interested in?