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Date Posted: 10:03:01 11/19/09 Thu
Author: dea
Subject: hi, Fi
In reply to: Fi 's message, "Anyone else writing a historical novel?" on 10:53:18 11/18/09 Wed

when i come to think of it, most of my writing so far is historical: one in the early 50's in England, the other in 2006, in England, passing by Iraq, Angola, France, with backgrounds that go to the 60's, 70's and 80's. uff!

what i do is read as much as i can about the period, mainly on the internet. i try to make the time setting for my scenes as acurate as possible. for instance, in a background story the father of the main female character works as an engeneer with the Red Cross in Angola in 1964. that's only possible because i made sure that the Red Cross existed, and had engeneers volunteering to build houses and medical facilities and teaching about water treatment in Angola at that time.

on the other hand, i make up a lot! i invent places, houses that don't exist, entire landscapes, rivers, mountains, caves, you name it. unless it's a historical location, i don't have a problem in creating an imaginary site.

i really love research! the interesting things you learn about many things that may not be particularly related to what you're writing, but may be data that will come in handy in the future.

i watch documentaries as well! Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, great source of information, and a good, reliable one.

one important thing: always keep the internet address, or link, or any reference about the source (author, publisher, date etc). if you're using the information you might face copyright issues when the time comes to publishing and you might need to aknowledge those sources somehow (thank notes, author's notes).

i hope it helps! looking forward to reading some of your things!

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[> [> Re: hi, Fi -- Fi, 10:16:50 11/27/09 Fri

Hi Debi, Page, Fel, and Dea,

Thanks for all your advice and support. That Writer's DreamTools page in particular is brilliant!

I have been googling like crazy, and have bookmarked everything from 17th century clothing, to recipes, to the parts of a sailing ship, to reports of the Ottoman slave trade. I found that Google Images is very useful; seeing pictures of people from the era helps me to visualize my characters better, and old maps are also useful for picturing the action.

With regard to the "political correctness", I'm worried about two potential problems: (a) my own 21st century sensibilities will make my 17th century characters unrealistic or (b) I'll make them so of their time that no modern reader will relate. But I guess I'll concentrate on the story first and see how that pans out.

Now I need to balance the research by doing some actual writing! At the moment my writing is filled with notes like "she wore a her hair in a [hairstyle]", "he unbuttoned his breeches [did they have buttons?], "the table was laid with [typical supper food]". I may post later when I have something more to show.

- Fiona

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