So, I’ve been reading up on the history of Scandinavia and Norse mythology for my research for this new book. I’m feeling totally overwhelmed. I’ve never paid much attention to history. Sure, I’ve gleaned a certain amount of knowledge over the years when it comes to Greece and Rome, and even Egypt to an extent. Those are the cultures which heavily influenced the regions from whence my ancestors came, Britain and so on, which in turn have a massive influence on America.
But when it comes to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland (and apparently Germany but not Finland), their mythology and history, I’m at a loss. The mythology includes Germany but not Finland, while the history includes Finland but not Germany. The physical territory, the different peoples who fought and migrated, united and tore themselves apart, it’s all foreign to me.
It’s fascinatingly foreign, but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed again when it comes to the research for this book. The mythology is fascinating. I read “D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths” as part of my research. It was a good introduction to the gods and stories this book is set to focus on. (It’s geared, I think, to younger children, but again a good introduction.)
But heaven help me if I try to research it further. The deeper I dig, the more names appear. I have another book of mythology that encompasses lots of different regions. The section on the myths of the Nordic lands goes much deeper, including Germany, Russia, and other Slavic regions.
I’m caught in a vicious cycle. The more research into the mythology I do, the more I realize I need to research the history. Then the more I research the history the more frustrated I become so I dive deeper into the mythology.
This book has been brewing in my head for 3 years now. It’s changed shape a few times and I’ve shelved it several times as well. But it’s still there, demanding to be written. If only I can get through the research.
The other thing that makes me freeze when it comes to research? Knowing that no matter how much research I do, there will always be people out there who will rip me up one side and down the other over my “lack of research.” Sigh. I want to do this story, the area of the world it’s focusing on, justice, but I’m terrified of the prospect.
Which means I should totally be writing this story, right? What we’re afraid of will make us stronger if we face it? Something like that?