Over Coffee

Research

writer_at_workNow that Éire’s Devil King is with my editors, I am at work on deciding what to do next.

I have a couple of projects before me, both of which I want to do.

Today, I am taking time to research for one of them. Pre-writing research is different than how I research while I’m writing. In order to best establish my characters, their place in their society, their mode of living and expression, I have to do a lot of pre-writing research just to find out who they are.

I know what my heroine looks like already, for example, but what kind of household surrounded her as she grew? What sort of trades did she see every day? What kind of government held sway not only over her actions but the actions of those living at a distance from her? What prejudices beset her society? What prejudices might she have thus claimed herself? Was her family large? Did her mother have a lot of personal authority in the home or was that not normal?

And that’s just off the top of my head for one character!

I’m reading an article written in 1755. It’s a discussion of the “Conduct of the French in America” and so on. In this piece found in the Gentleman’s Magazine for January of that year, there is valuable information regarding not only the crops of the colonies extant at that time, but also the social prejudices about what constituted “population” and like that. There is more than just detail; there is psyche.

 

For this story, I have an idea of what I want to have happen, but I don’t know if it’s even feasible at this juncture—at least not in the way I pictured it. If I can contrive it to happen in a rational manner, then I can write it. If not, I have to decide what basic details needs adjusting so that my ideal can be created. I don’t mind writing something that would have been unusual in the time period, but I don’t want it to be insupportable.

So I research. And I place my notional hero (a good man, but a man of his time to be sure) into a pair of shoes that may or may not fit. I learn more about the life in the head of the Man about the Colony as well as what I can glean about those who lived on the fringes. What did the local Native American Nations think of what was happening? Which Nations were allied with France? England? Which chose to remain aloof?

And so on.

I have already spent time in a local library, taking actual notes with an actual notebook and pen. This was fun. I need to find a bigger library. Today, the research is online, for the most part.

Eventually, in the not too distant future, I will make decisions about this romance I’ve got in my head. When I have a better idea about it, I’ll let y’all know.

In the meanwhile, I’m writing a bit of Christian fiction, too. Not a romance, but a peek from an unusual perspective at an unusual time. I hope it works. That one is being outlined at present. There isn’t a question of feasibility on this one—the supernatural is a given as the story opens—but I need to make it relatable. That is a challenge. I just can’t tell you why, just yet. 😉

Soon, though, soon.

In the meantime, I’m reading old articles and studying old maps and having the best day. 🙂writingquill