Sunday, December 11, 2011


I'm the world's worst at keeping up with this blog, but I thought I'd start something new. Let's see how far I go with it. Anyway, thought today I'd talk a little about researching since I'm deep in the task as we speak.
Research is one of the key ingredients for taking your novel from humdrum to engaging. True, there are so many factors to consider when writing, but without those little juicy tidbits that come from hours of research, your novel is likely to fall flat.

I'm going to use my newest novel as an example. On Timeless Wings of Gold is a time travel that takes place in both the past and the future. For future events, I had to use my imagination as the future I envisioned happens in 2024, which is not to far distant. Technology is moving so fast, it's a bit overwhelming to predict just how advanced society will be so I blended what I know now with what might possibly be in the future.

The past was easier to deal with because I had a lot a research on which to base my vision. I bought several books on Viking history and summer before last, had the wonderful opportunity to visit Scandinavia. Four years ago, I also spent time in Paris where I got to tour a wee bit of Normandy. The Vikings came to Normandy so I felt this was the perfect setting for my story.

When digging for facts, a lot of the information posted is basically the same. What I desired were the little known facts, things that can enrich the story. I found two things that thrilled me. The first was an obscure mention in a forum of how the Viking people cared for their teeth. True or not? Verified? I don't know, but it was plausable enough that my group of people could use it and not raise any red flags with historians.  The next bit of information that sparked my interest was a detailed account of how the Viking people put on their shoes. The shoes were in fact flat pieces of leather that wrapped around the foot then secured by ties.

So how does one go about finding these tidbits as I call them? For one, you can't just stop at the first article on a given subject. Second, you have to use different key words when searching for information.

I'm researching the hurricane of Indianola that occured in 1875. Doing a search on the hurricane yielded some information but when I typed in weather for Indianola, 1875, I got a whole new batch of articles that yielded even more information. Be tenatious in your search and don't forget your local libraries. I also spend a lot of time in Half Price Books and I now have a fairly large collection of resource books to supplement what I find on the web.

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