Quick one this… I just read about what it really meant to be a shepherd in the first century. Our impression of shepherds has been a bit corrupted by too many Victorian pastoral scenes and Marie Antoinette. This fantastic post http://kinnon.tv/2008/06/so-you-wanna-be.html explains it better than I can, but it made my brain buzz. That’s a whole different image of God.
I’ve reached 40,000 of my novel now, and was thinking about how to make the places I describe as real as possible.
The answer came to me while watching “Horrible Histories” with my son. It’s smells. The world was a much smellier place in the past than in Western Europe today.
Yes even more smelly than French drains.
So last night found me Googling “What does Chennai smell like?” The answer, apparently, is chai, coffee, too much jasmine, burning plastic and petrol from the motorised Rickshaws, sewage and the sea…
What about first century Jerusalem? Reading a lot of books set there (history and fiction) I gather it is spices, olive oil, animal and human poo, body odour and the metallic tang of blood near the placed of execution.
But I need to know what smells sum up a market town in decline – the modern day setting for the book. Any thoughts?