I'm still firmly ensconced in Ancient Greece right now; I've decided that the best way to tackle Research Fatigue is to pretend I don't have that much to research! If I can give myself tunnel vision, and focus on one item on the (Self-Inflicted) Research To-Do List For Crazy People, I don't feel nearly as, well, fatigued. I recognize that 1) this makes for less diverse and probably less interesting blog posts, and 2) it requires an advanced amount of self-delusion, but hey, I'm up for being dull and nuts if it gets the job done!!
This week, I followed my typical research pattern, which looks like a small child's hand-drawn map. You know, nothing is really in scale, there's no sense of perspective or distance between points, and more than one road goes meandering off into nowhere...
Here's an example: today, I set out to learn what the daily life of a shepherd in Ancient Greece would really be like (the other soul, Apollo's lover, is a shepherd, so this is grade-A important info.) Responsible-writer-cap firmly on my head, I went to JSTOR (thank you, Crystal!!), and started reading semi-related articles on animals and animal husbandry in Greece and so on...but nothing really answered my question.
I didn't want to give up, but I was getting frustrated, so I sort of pushed the responsible-writer-cap a little bit off my forehead - just so I could scratch my head - and found that I was searching on wikipedia instead of JSTOR.
Hmm. How did that happen? Oh well, I thought; I'm here, I might as well look into general shepherd-ry while I'm at it!
Except, that cap was getting kind of uncomfortable, so I took it off - just for a couple of minutes - and put it on my lap.
That's when I thought: wait, do I REALLY need a lot of information on a shepherd's daily life? I mean, the story is going to start when Apollo sees this shepherd and decides to take him away from his shepherding duties.
Yup, not important!! It was much more important for me to have a firm grip on this guy's character. I did some great work on Apollo's character last week, but Acaeus - that's the shepherd's name - was really underdeveloped.
So I abandoned wikipedia, opened up my trusty character analysis document (knocking my responsible-writer-cap off of my lap and onto the desk in the process), and dug into Acaeus. I started brainstorming and writing, and decided that his mother died in childbirth (an all-too-common occurrence in Ancient Greece.)
Wait, I thought, if she died in childbirth, did he need a nurse to, um, nurse him? Would a poor recently widower-ed shepherd dad even have access to a nurse? How did Acaeus survive?
Artemis must have killed his mom and saved him! She is the goddess of childbirth, and the Greeks believed she was responsible when mothers and/or infants died in labor.
But was there a nurse? And why did a virgin goddess care about childbirth, anyway??
Back to the internet! I looked up Artemis and childbirth, which led to much digging into maternal death rates, which lead to attempting to read about the lives of lower class women in Ancient Greece, which got even more frustrating because, like most historical reading, there's a whole lot of information on rich people's lives, and little to none on the masses'.
I brushed my responsible-writer-cap onto the floor in impatience, and decided that what I really needed was to research Ancient Greek names so that I could name Acaeus's mother and father!
Ooo...traditional names and their origin in myth...cool... *buries self in mythology*
Wait, what was I working on? Oh yes, Acaeus's character! I knew Acaeus had some narcissistic tendencies, although not a personality disorder, so I turned again to the internet and started looking up some basic psychology on narcissists.
I read three or four information-rich, thought-provoking articles, and then in the process of searching for more, I found a weird yet compelling website on reincarnation, and thought, OOOO! Why not? I mean, my book is about reincarnation!! So I started reading all about the 5 Levels of Souls and the 35 Stages of Souls and the 7 different Types of Souls and....
...and then I disappeared down the rabbit hole.
Whoops. Sorry about that. I'll try to dig myself out in time for next week's post...