Medieval is an enjoyable genre to read and write. The medieval or middle-age life differed from village to village and from person to person. Life in the medieval depended on someone’s class and role in society. The medieval village was the domain of the peasant. Peasants were the lowest class of society, but they made up most of the entire population. For this majority, the village was the center of their universe. They were born, lived, worked, attended church, married, had children, and died in the same area.
Today, we might imagine a medieval as a line square or several little rows of houses with a tavern and a church. But the medieval took on many forms. It could be several houses clustered together, but a village could also be several scattered hamlets and farmsteads far apart but under the control of a Lord.
Most villages/cities would have been houses concentrated around a manor, an administrative device by which a Lord charged rents and taxes from peasants. So writing the medieval story is not only about history is also about showing the culture, rules, social views, relationships, religion, and more.
How to write a medieval story?
Most writers/authors choose a medieval timeline while writing the historical story. For example, Nightfall, Vikings, and The Last Kingdom are the most popular series of all time. In this middle age, the authors and poets were demandable because they represented their current stories broadly. As a result, we can get plenty of information that helps our writing. If you want to write a medieval story, follow my 5 tips. Let’s do it!
1. Ensure that you fascinate writing medieval story
Fascinates might seem a bit strong, but it is so important. When you’re writing a whole book, it should be about a topic that interests you anyway. When you’re writing a medieval story, you will have to do much reading and research if there’s only a time period that you’re vaguely interested in. Or, you read one short story that caught your imagination. That’s cool!
For example, you fancy the idea of writing in Victorian England. But the only reason you like that is that you like the idea of writing a book that involves wearing corsets and pretty dresses. That’s not a good enough reason because when you’re looking into the nitty gritty and trying to write even everyday parts of your novel, you will end up writing yourself into a hole.
2. Take your time researching and writing
Take your time and try to have a good time while doing it. So instead of getting overwhelmed and trying to rush through it, pour yourself a cup of tea and relax while researching your period of choice. Keep all of your notes in one place. You can work on character arcs. There is even a world-building pack.
For those of you who, especially for people who are writing fantasy, the world-building pack can be used for medieval as well. It’s because historical fiction or medieval happens in a different time period than the one we live in. There are a bunch of details and little things to remember. So you could use the world-building pack for your story.
- Builds all of your worlds when you can develop cultures, languages, religions, magic systems, belief systems, etc.
- Head to the library and check out books on your time period.
- Start from a very general broad view of the time period.
- Figure out all the significant events so you’re not missing anything.
There will be readers who can pick out if anything is historically inaccurate. But most readers will not be able to pick out the wrong details within your medieval. So find as many tiny, accurate details as possible and use those details to bring the story to life.
3. Focus on dialogue writing
We speak differently now than we did 50 years ago than we did 100 years ago, or 200 years ago. How do we speak about changes over the years? It changes from place to place. So you need to know the time period and the setting. How advanced is that culture? How formal are they? Researching and discovering how your characters would speak or how the people around them would speak again will help bring your story to life.
Do your research on those words and find out when they came into being and when they were being used more casually in a speech in the time period. Suppose you need to take those modern words and replace them with something that is more historically accurate. So focus on dialogue and word choice that fits in medieval perfectly.
4. Pay attention to detail
Unlike readers of contemporary fiction, you’re going to find historical fiction. Readers are very nit-picky about the details. If you’re going to be talking about the type of dress for Victorian England, your main characters are getting changed. You need to get that right if you miss an essential detail.
So make sure you do your research and go through your manuscript with a fine-toothed comb to ensure that you don’t have any anachronisms or inconsistencies. That’s what readers will get very annoyed with you about and don’t have much tolerance for.
For example, if you’re writing a book set in 1920s England and your protagonist is happily driving along a motorway, that’s a problem. Motorways weren’t even the very first motorway in England wasn’t even completed until 1959. So you have to be realistic.
5. Don’t avoid the medieval rules
You can’t break a rule unless you know the rule. There are many rules you’ve got to follow when it’s history. So, make sure that you read the architecture in your time period, and everything will be different in a different period. Even ten years ago, the world that we live in today was a little bit different. If you’re writing even as recently as the 1990s, you must ensure that you’re getting that right. If you haven’t lived through those time periods, the best way to do that is to ensure that you’re reading a lot in that area.
For example, if you’re interested in the Tudor period, read a lot of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory, two historical fiction writers. They can help give you an idea of the tone that you want in your book. You must have a good grasp of the time period you’re writing in because time itself is almost a character. You need to illustrate it well, and it will add an entirely different tint to your entire novel.
You’ll have to read a bunch of stuff online, watch some YouTube videos if you can, have a fun time with it, and try not to feel like you have to be perfect. Most of us don’t know specific details about the past. So do the best you can and have fun along the way.
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