In order for a reader to get the most out of your story, you, the writer, need to create a “world” for the characters the reader can clearly “see” and feel part of throughout the story’s journey. It falls back on that time-honored and sometimes painful part of a writer’s job: research, research, research.

The following are some of the online resources I used in building my “world” for the medieval series I am currently writing. I believe that basically the same thought and research process could be applied to whatever time period you’re using.

Understanding the Time Period: (5th thru 15th century) This is a resource for nice, simple definitions of terminology of the medieval time period. Another resource for medieval terminology. This is a resource for medieval feudal terminology. This is a resource for medieval terminology with slightly longer definitions. This is a nice overview of the various time periods involved in the Middle Ages. This is a resource with a number of listings of different maps for the period. This is a resource for a timeline of Scottish history. This is a resource for learning about the heritage of Scotland including its history, geography, culture, curling, tartans, highland dress and much more. This resource gives quick descriptions of the social classes and has a nice list of the various occupations for the medieval period. This is a great resource for many kinds of information about the medieval period including architecture (castles and manors), knights (code of chivalry, jousting, armor, swords, tournaments, shields), medieval society (life overview, castle life, roles of women, fashion, food, drinks, entertainment, merchants, punishment, medicine), and warfare (weapons, archers, siege, siege weapons). This is another resource for basic information on religion, clothing, weapons, battering ram, entertainment, knights, tapestries, art, music, food, medicine, women, men, society, laws, castles, siege engines and more. This is a good resource for learning about the parts of a castle and what was done in each part or might have been there as furnishings. This is a resource with a map for English castle locations, with links to photos and brief descriptions of the various castles. This is another good resource for seeing photos of and learning a little about various English castles. This is a great list of castles in Scotland with much information and many photos of each castle.

Weaponry: This is a good source for seeing pictures of and reading brief descriptions of many medieval items including swords, long bows, archery supplies, chainmail and leather armor, daggers, dirks, helmets, shields, halberds, battle axes, maces, banners, tapestries, and much more.

Characterization: This resource links to various articles on medieval hair information including how to braid hair, how to wear a veil or circlet, how to make a coif, wearing hoods, how to make cylinder curls (crespinettes), how to make a caul or reticulated headdress, and more. It also links to articles on clothing information such as basic garb, making a tunic, etc. This is a resource for medieval footwear terminology. This is a resource with a brief amount of basic medieval speech. This is a resource for words originating in the medieval period. This is a resource for medieval names. This is a resource for a list and explanations of the official Scottish clans. This is a great map for the areas controlled by the various early Scottish clans. This is a dictionary of Scots terms. This is a nice quick dictionary of Scots to English words.

The Smarts Button

This website is the work of Starla Criser, an author who has published more than 50 stories, both traditionally and through self-publishing routes.