Wednesday, September 1

Research can be Overwhelming

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo a bit early this year I felt that I didn't complete 50,000 words last November for a few reason, my lack of research ahead of time being a main one. Although I've been reading and loving Regency Romances for years trying to write one that is somewhat historically accurate has been another tale. Last year’s story, well-meaning and awesome in my mind just had too many gaps when I got down to writing it. While this works great for a lot of writers I realized fast that I'm not one of them.

So I've been brainstorming off and on for about two months. I filled emails and OneNote pages full of online links to check out but had yet to delve into old-fashioned offline resources.  After checking links for suggestions over at Absolute Write (which I just signed up for this month) I began adding books to an Amazon wish list and checking prices.

Being rather cheap I decided to bite the bullet and pay my horrendous fines at my local library and check out their books. Sadly for me they were closed for renovations but as life randomly throws you a rope (to pull yourself out of a well and not hang yourself with) I was able to kill time at the local community college library while waiting for my sister.  An hour and a half and pages full of dates, quotes and names later I stumbled upon a cart brimming with free books.

Free is my favorite kind of book and I left with four huge books.

     Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature: Vol 1. (Part 1) 1802-1881
     Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature Vol. 1 (Part 2) 1802-1881
     Chamber’s Biographical Dictionary
     Ten Thousand Wonderful Things

In all I spent around two hours researching yesterday without rhyme or reason and it quickly made me realize I need a plan. Otherwise, NaNo will come and go and I'll still be researching obscure tidbits.

Currently my goal is to work on my stories 2-4 hours two days a week. Until the actual writing in November I will break up my time half towards research and half towards the collection of strange short stories that has been slowly piling up.

I think I’ll break it down into categories. For example, right now I’m brushing up on historical highlights up until 1814 where the bulk of my story takes place and am jotting down anything I want to dig deeper into. Fashion, Historical dates, wedding customs, daily life for women, steamboats, drowning and school life for boys are all topics I’ll be focusing on.

What is your research strategy?
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