Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Historical Research -- What I'm Doing Now

I've been sick the last few days and forgot to write up a post about historical research for today. However,
I'm better now and right smack dab in the middle of creating a new story. Something BIG, (which I really can't tell you about now) but it's not one of my forthcoming books. This is an entirely new creation for something else entirely.

So, to begin, I needed to create a brand new character. I needed a French aristocrat. Knowing next to nothing about the French aristocracy, I played with Google and Wikipedia. My two favorite web-sites.

First, I needed to know how the French addressed their nobles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_nobility

Then I needed to decide which title he would have. I decided on Marquis.

Then which province he would have held under his title. I wanted something near the ocean. So I went here and chose Aunis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_France

I then realized I needed to know just what exactly they did in Aunis and found a wonderful little place known for farming and salt.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aunis

Then it was on to the larger topic of the French Revolution because I needed a reason for my character to escape France.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution

In reading up on this, I found a man, the Marquis de Condorcet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_Condorcet who would be perfect for me to base my character's life on. Learned, with all the right political leanings, he chose to leave France after the Revolution. I believe I hit the jackpot with him.

Mind you, all this flipping back and forth on the computer, not to mention reading all the articles (and getting sidetracked on whether I needed to actually know what the flag looked like -- Fun Fact: Aunis is under the duchy of Aquitaine) took me just under two hours. But now I have the backstory of one of my characters.

And believe it or not, this man in my story is dead and is only mentioned in a paragraph containing five sentences. He is not relevent to the story at all. However, if I did not do this research, the story would have no substance. I could have just written him any old way. But I didn't. I chose to give this man a life, a backstory, a history, if you will because that was what was needed.

In shaping my main character, Dianne, I need to have all the pertinent information, and this above mentioned man is her father. So it would behoove me to get it right. Or at least as right as I can get in fiction.

Now, onto Dianne's mother....

Anne Gallagher (c) 2013

3 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of research, it takes time, but I enjoy the learning process and it invigorates the writing. I agree with you on that.

    I like the fact you have France in this new work. It has a place in my heart always. Hubs is reading a new book now just out: Paris, A novel, by Edward Rutherford. It has such tantalizing tidbits about Paris. Good luck with your new book.

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  2. I've had to do a lot of research lately too. Its fun, albeit a distraction, but a necessary one. I hope you are feeling better dearie!

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  3. Sounds like the amount of research you are putting in will make this book really snap.

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