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.

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.

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.

Then it was on to the larger topic of the French Revolution because I needed a reason for my character to escape France.

In reading up on this, I found a man, the 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


  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.

  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!

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


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