Building a Medieval Story World

Each of the prior blogs on world building has been excellent thoughts on the subject. In a nutshell, in order for the reader to get the most out of your story, you, the writer, need to create a world for the characters the reader can clearly “see” and feel part of throughout the story’s journey. It falls back on that time-honored and sometimes painful part of a writer’s job: research, research, research.

For my blog, I’m going to share some of the online resources I used in building my “world” for the medieval series I am currently writing. I believe that basically the same thought and research process could be applied to whatever time period you’re using.

Understanding the Time Period: (5th thru 15th century)
Medieval Terminologry and Glossary This is a resource for nice, simple definitions of terminology of the medieval time period.

Medieval-Castles Glossary Another resource for medieval terminology.

Feudal Terminology This is a resource for medieval feudal terminology.

Glossary of Feudal, Medieval and Castle Terminology This is a resource for medieval terminology with slightly longer definitions.

Wikipedia-Middle Ages This is a nice overview of the various time periods involved in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Atlas This is a resource with a number of listings of different maps for the period.

Scottish History Timeline This is a resource for a timeline of Scottish history.

History of Scotland This is a resource for learning about the heritage of Scotland including its history, geography, culture, curling, tartans, highland dress and much more.

Medieval Jobs This resource gives quick descriptions of the social classes and has a nice list of the various occupations for the medieval period.

Medieval Spell This is a great resource for many kinds of information about the medieval period including architecture (castles and manors), knights (code of chivalry, jousting, armor, swords, tournaments, shields), medieval society (life overview, castle life, roles of women, fashion, food, drinks, entertainment, merchants, punishment, medicine), and warfare (weapons, archers, siege, siege weapons).

Medieval Period This is another resource for basic information on religion, clothing, weapons, battering ram, entertainment, knights, tapestries, art, music, food, medicine, women, men, society, laws, castles, siege engines and more.

Medieval Period Castles & Weaponry This is a good resource for learning about the parts of a castle and what was done in each part or might have been there as furnishings.

Map of English Castles This is a resource with a map for English castle locations, with links to photos and brief descriptions of the various castles.

Castles in Britain This is another good resource for seeing photos of and learning a little about various English castles.

Castles in Scotland This is a great list of castles in Scotland with much information and many photos of each castle.

Medieval Collectibles This is a good source for seeing pictures of and reading brief descriptions of many medieval items including swords, long bows, archery supplies, chainmail and leather armor, daggers, dirks, helmets, shields, halberds, battle axes, maces, banners, tapestries, and much more.

Medieval Clothing Pages This resource links to various articles on medieval hair information including how to braid hair, how to wear a veil or circlet, how to make a coif, wearing hoods, how to make cylinder curls (crespinettes), how to make a caul or reticulated headdress, and more. It also links to articles on clothing information such as basic garb, making a tunic, etc.

Glossary of Middle Ages Footwear This is a resource for medieval footwear terminology.

Basic Medieval Speech This is a resource with a brief amount of basic medieval speech.

Medieval Words-Orgins This is a resource for words originating in the medieval period.

Medieval Names This is a resource for medieval names.

Scottish Clans This is a resource for a list and explanations of the official Scottish clans.

Original Scottish Clan Map This is a great map for the areas controlled by the various early Scottish clans.

Glossary of Scots Terms This is a dictionary of Scots terms.

Wikipedia Scots-English Dictionary This is a nice quick dictionary of Scots to English words.


Nina Sipes said...

How wonderful your links are. I had no idea that so much was available on medieval things. I went to the 'name' one. I could get caught up in doing research and NEVER writing. That alone could be so very fun. And a hobby that doesn't take up much space--except hmmm...maybe a...note to self: must keep some things to self.

I can't believe the differences that everyone has come up with for the blog. Doesn't it astound you? Have you found out what goes in the little bag that lies in front of the kilt?

Starla Kaye said...

I know what goes under a kilt...nothing.

A sporran was like a pocket and held money, musket balls, food, and anything else small that they needed to carry with them.

Reese Mobley said...

Starla, I had no idea any of these links existed. It must be a hoot to write about this time period. I doubt I'll ever write anything medieval, but it's so cool to learn new things. I plan to check out each and every one of these links. I wish you much success.

Joan Vincent said...

Such cool links, Starla! I have only a few of those you've given so many thanks for sharing.

Becky A said...

When building your own worlds, especially non-contemporary ones, do any of you find yourself wanting to "stay" there? Do your characters ever get a little too real? I'm thinking along the lines of the way many people reacted to the AVATAR movie. Of course, watching it and writing it would be different, but I could see the potential for getting lost in your own creation. Especially one as romanticized as the Medieval period or Fantasy. Any of you ever have a problem with that and if so, how did you deal with it?

Side note: any idea why they wore nothing under their kilts? If the wind blew much, it would make for an interesting view!

Nina Sipes said...

I've been losing myself in books since I was in grade school. The feeling I get writing books is just a smidge better. I get lost in them, but always find my way home. I don't think people are in danger--hunger will make them faint or the bathroom will call and that will jar anyone back to reality. Not to worry.

Penny Rader said...

Awesome links, Starla!

Btw, how'd you fix those links so that you can click on the name of the site without having to have the actual link showing?