Am I crazy?

As some of you might know, I am working on my first novel, which is the first book of a trilogy. It is going to be a quasi-historical grimdark high fantasy series loosely based on the 11-12th century Byzantine Empire. Historical in the sense of A Song of Ice and Fire being loosely based on the 100 year wars.

The shamanism lore, mythology and the spirit creatures are mostly based on Central Asian/Siberian Turkic shamanism and Armenian mythology. It’s going to be a very Eastern setting, drawing inspiration from severely underrated Eastern history and mythology. I know some of it since I grew up surrounded by the magnificent Byzantine legacy, Anatolian and Central Asian Turkic fairy tales & epics, Turkish and Armenian folklore, but I felt that I should do serious academic research to get a deeper insight.

That is where the Tolkien influence comes into play: Doing the advanced research like Tolkien, not writing elves and dwarves and halflings into my stories.

Now I am going to give you a glimpse of the reading and research I have been doing for this series.

The Alexiad – Anna Komnene (12th century Byzantine chronicles)
The History – Michael Attaleiates (11th century Byzantine chronicles)
The Chronographia – Michael Psellos (11th century Byzantine chronicles)
Armenia and the Crusades Tenth to Twelfth Centuries – Chronicles of Matthew of Edessa
The Armenians in the Byzantine Empire – Charanis et al
Armenian Folk Beliefs, by Manuk Abeghyan.
Armenian Mythology, by Mardiros H. Ananikian. From The Mythology of All Races Volume VII
Armenian Historical Sources of the 5-15th Centuries, Selected Works
ARAB-BYZANTINE WAR, 629-644 AD by DAVID E. KUNSELMAN, LCDR , SC, USN
(Master’s Thesis, Military Art and Science)
Byzantine Intelligence Service
Byzantine Magic by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
THE SHAMANS AMONG THE UYGHUR TURKS AND THE SHAMANS’ TREATMENT METHODS A. ÖGER – T. GÖNEL et al
A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON NATIVE AMERICAN AND SIBERIAN, CENTRAL ASIAN TURKISH SHAMANISM – Arslan et al
The Beliefs and Practices on Mountain, Tree and Fire Cults in “Kaz Mountains” – Duymaz-Sahin et al
SOME MYTHS AND BELIEFS AMONG TATARS RELATED TO MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES – Cetin et al
A Mythic Creature in the Narratives of Altai Turks: Celbegen – Turker et al
Some Determinations about the Relations of the Hero with the Underground World and Sky World in Siberian Turkish Epics – Dilek et al
THE TYPE OF WOMAN IN THE HEROIC LEGENDS OF SHORS – Chirli et al
Altaic Turks and Their Beliefs – Yugasheva et al

This is not even half of it. There is a rather huge list of mythology, folklore and shamanism books in Turkish language and a myriad of other scientific papers on Byzantine culture and medieval military tactics. This is why I am not churning out tons of book reviews and writing 2k words a day.

I am doing all this research to make sure the mythology, spiritual aspects, shamanism stuff, battles, military tactics and the politics are as realistic as possible. Those books better turn out decent after so much hard work. Come to think of it, it’s rather funny that I am reading the above pile of academic books & papers to create a grimdark high fantasy series, not a Ph.D thesis.

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9 thoughts on “Am I crazy?

  1. That’s a lot of research! I’ve done research for an entirely fictional series. I think it makes your world-building more believable if you have research to back it up. I’m sure all your hard work will be worth it. I can’t wait to read your finished book.

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  2. You are far more ambitious than I am when it comes to research! I’ve done my fair share of study – my problem is trying to figure out what humanity will look like in 50,000 years. Most of my research is in terms of what the solar system – and Earth – might be like that far in the future. I’m very much looking forward to reading your book when it’s done, especially with that kind of research. Good luck! (And you’re writing a novel. That alone proves you’re crazy. Didn’t you know? Writers are crazy just for being writers – spending all our time inside our own brains and then telling everyone about the weird stuff we found there…and hoping they’ll pay for the privilege.)

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    • It’s much easier to research the past than figure out the far future. Well I am doing all this insane research but I will likely use little bit of it, some of it is more for inspiration than reference (except the military stuff, of course).

      All writers are crazy, but let’s keep it hush-hush, the public is not ready for such sensitive information just yet!

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  3. Sounds like you’re immersing yourself into the world of your story. Just remember, don’t lose your story in all those historical details. You’re writing a work of fiction and entertainment is the key both for you and your readers. Use facts to flesh out your story but leave yourself that crucial “wiggle-room” to bring your world and the characters that populate it to life.

    I love historical fiction, especially with elements of the mystical and folklore mixed in. Can’t wait to read your first novel!!

    Very Best Regards,
    Eric

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  4. That’s great that you’re drawing from a setting and culture that’s rarely covered in fantasy lit for your own work. I’ve been going the “making-stuff-up” route (not really basing my world / races on anything in particular), so I haven’t done much research except for all the world-building I’ve had to do. But I admire anyone who takes the route you’ve chosen. And with all the resources you’ve used so far, I think it’s going to pay off big-time for you. 🙂 Good luck!

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    • I’m making stuff up also, there are non-human elemental races and strange, alien places, but the empire at the focus and the nomadic cultures are based on the underrated cultures from the real history.

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  5. Holy SMOKES, you are incredibly ambitious and thorough!! I am in awe, my friend!! Wow!

    Now I’m curious about the Byzantine Empire, and you’re an excellent source of information.:)

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