• Sheryl Gwyther

#2 The fine balance of story researching

There is no set way to research for a story - except that researching historical fiction is guaranteed to take you by the throat and heart, especially if you love your characters like real people.

Researching is a journey of detection and discovery, of surprise, immersion, usually of love, and sometimes even fanaticism...that unknown book could have what you're after, or that endless list on Google.

Research can also stop you writing too. Authors balance on that fine edge all the time in their stories' research journey.

I've woven a significant sub-plot into my protagonist's story, Caterina's quest to find who she is and her true place in the world ... Vivaldi's turbulent journey to compose The Four Seasons; following his creative instincts against the odds, and changing the path of classical music's history.

For me, it's been a literary and musical journey of discovery and love, mostly because of the historical figure behind the story and where it is set. Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, (1693-1706) the red-haired priest of Venice, virtuoso violinist and brilliant composer of over 500+ concertos, many operas and pieces of sacred music. Multi-layered genius, shrewd, a control freak at times, but also vulnerable, intelligent, generous and loyal. What is there not to like?

Venice is a character all of her own. This lagoon city is called La Serrissima (The Most Serene). She is filled with contrasts, glittering, astonishing beauty and colour, one of the most touristy cities in the world in peak season (but not in the back-streets and canals where they don't venture). As Truman Capote said: Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.

If you're interested, enjoy a favourite Vivaldi violinist, Norway's Mari Samuelsen playing Vivaldi's Winter concerto from The Four Seasons. In the 3 movements, Vivaldi wants the listener to imagine a winter storm, then being home by the fireside with the chilly rain hitting the windows. Then we slip and slide over icy paths and shiver in the north winds. He uses silvery staccato notes from the high strings to make us feel.

Till next time. Signing off...


#Vivaldi #research #childrenswriting #Venice #music