Research starting nicely

Well, at first I thought I would just jump into writing. But the more I thought about the story and the plot, I realized I needed to do more research. About names, land features, horses. My world is fictional, and I don’t want to build it around any real mythos, but I thought it would be good to have character names and place names at least similar in origin and style.

I also wanted the land features to make sense, rivers flowing correctly from mountains down into lakes and out to seas. I also wanted distances and travel time to work out, so I looked into horses and how fast they walk, trot, gallop, and for how long. I learned a lot about footfall patterns and gaits.

Image result for horse gaits creative commons

Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion, 1878 from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_gait

Turns out horses can’t keep up a fast gallop for very long, maybe a few miles. So a trot is their normal gait. Also, for anyone not used to riding, a horse bounces up and down in between footfalls, so it isn’t a smooth ride. Hence the carriage for long distances.

What other types of research do you do for your fantasy writing?

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