Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mwm

What’s your opinion of the amount of research needed for a prehistory fiction novel?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Such as Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m not sure how much research went into that series, but I’m wondering what amount is needed for credibility in an era that’s not documented except in archeology.

Edited by Mwm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Mwm said:

Such as Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m not sure how much research went into that series, but I’m wondering what amount is needed for credibility in an era that’s not documented except in archeology.

According to what I read, she did quite extensive research.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like you would want well-informed context like diet, lifestyle, health, dwellings, social structure (group size, gender roles, hierarchies, etc), tools/technology, seasonal variations, population density (for plausible interactions outside main tribe) and a specific knowledge of fauna and flora in that era. 

Less specific but still important, you would want archeological support to infer mindset, attitudes, taboos, culture, beliefs, mode of thinking (level of superstition bs rationalism; unreal overlaid on real, etc).

i guess it all depends on your commitment to world-building and accurate portrayal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read that Auel did a lot of research for her novels - to the point where the later sequels lacked in plot and character-building and the books consisted mainly of descriptions of cave paintings, climate, and geography.

One thing that seems off in my admittedly not well-informed opinion about these novels is the structure of the population though. I would expect that groups like that would have way more children compared to the number of adults and a higher childhood mortality rate than described in there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More than Iggulden did into the emperor books would be a starting point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Darth Richard II said:

So more then 0 percent?

Yes, somewhere slightly above absolutely no research whatsoever is ideal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

More than Iggulden did into the emperor books would be a starting point.

I mainly meant about periods where there is no documentation of what the actual era was like. Since there are actual records one could read from the time of Romans, says something different about Iggulden research habits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prehistory as a subject is just like studying the human brain as a subject. Every 20 years or so everything you thought was fact turns out to be not so much a fact anymore. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think any historical novel requires a reasonable amount of historical research to ground you in the moment. The more you go back, the less we know so the more the writer has the freedom to invent. David Gemmell, for example, did a fine job with his Troy Trilogy by combining the archaeological evidence, the legends and the historical data we have of Greek civilisation at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you mean research as in, 'How much detail do I need to put into my story?' then you might want to check out Angus Watson's Age of Iron series. He's done a pretty good job of bringing Iron Age Britain to life.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's absolutely horrific the amount of research writers are supposed to do.  It's called artistic license for a reason.   I'm sure Ken Hamm and the dinosaur riders agree with me.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on what you are writing, I guess. I mean if you're going to make up a secondary world base on japan you should probably do more then watch some anime then read wiki. >.>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably best research methods is to farm out the labor to a forum like that dude that wanted the 16th century pirates vs ninjas vs knights Templar asian-influenced setting.  That way you let other people do all the work and then just cherry-pick the best stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×