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September 15, 2020

What I Learned While Writing Dragon's Winter by guest Kandi J Wyatt

You’d think writing fantasy I don’t need to do research, but that’s not the case. One of the reasons my tag-line is “where fantasy and reality meet” is because I write realistic fantasy. That can require research. 
While writing Dragon’s Winter, I had several different places pop up that required me to look them up to see if they fit within the timeframe or even how they were done. 

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Dragon's Winter
The first thing I had to investigate was how mining works. Dragon’s Winter takes place in the San Valencia dragon rider colony outside an ebony mine. Since I know a little about rock crushing but nothing about mining, I had to Google it. I discovered that ore is extracted through the mining process, then put into basins where they separate it from other minerals. Finally, they’ll purify what they gain from the process and use it as a final product.

As a discovery writer, I often am surprised by what comes up as I write. I knew the setting of Dragon’s Winter, but as I described Jareem, one of the main characters, I kept indicating he wore a duster. The antagonist had a top hat and tails. Between the two, I gained the time-frame more or less. It’s an old west style town during the early 1800s or so. That led to some fun ideas. Who knew dragons and my first love of Westerns would blend? 

Yet, this then brought up some questions. In one scene Jareem walks up to a gate and rings the bell. Both critique partners and my editor flagged that. They didn’t have doorbells in the 1800s. On the contrary. According to 1800 doorbell, doorbells were first invented in the 1800s by attaching a string to a bell. Someone would pull the chain or rope and a bell would ring elsewhere. Different forms of these included a lever, a button, or a twisting knob. So, yes, it’s perfectly fine to have my old west styled fantasy have doorbells.

My other main character is an apprenticing midwife. She pulls out the stethoscope to listen to baby’s heartbeat, right? Well, someone questioned that, saying the procedure is relatively new. However, eighteen years ago, when my last child was born, we had a home birth. My midwife used a stethoscope to listen to his heartbeat. I vividly remember the next oldest standing with the earpieces stuck in his ear and wonder on his face as he heard the thew-thew-thew of his sibling’s heart. But how new is this process? Again, back to Google, and I discovered that the Pinard was invented in 1895. It was a cup-like object with a flat piece at the top for the midwife to put her ear against. The open cup part would press into the abdomen to listen for a heartbeat. This instrument is still used in Europe today. As I continued reading, I learned that a simple toilet paper tube can be used as well! What a fun way for a mother to share with older siblings the life that’s growing inside.

Want to know more about the research I do for my fantasy stories? Check out my Pinterest page. I have a board for each series, and some of the boards are divided by books. Have questions? Feel free to ask. I love interacting with readers.

Buy Dragon's Winter at Amazon

About the Author

Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school, Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that's her own five or the hundreds of students she's been lucky to teach. When Kandi's not spinning words to create stories, she's using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.

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