Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Historical Research -- How Much is Too Much
For my Not So Secret Project, I've had to do some fast tracking into the French Revolution, the Huguenots, Catholic persecution, and the Church of England. Because this book is not in the category of my usual Regency romances, I've found myself researching long into the night. As well as interviewing a priest and a nun.
What all this research has done has given me a headache. I think I overdid it. And now I'm just confused. I have too much information in my head, which means I have to cut some out. But as always, what do I keep and what do I let go seems to be the question I've been asking myself.
The answer -- I have no idea. Unfortunately, I won't know what to keep until I start writing.
It's like a giant puzzle trying to find the ends and corners, and then filling in the middle. This is the part about writing historical fiction that I hate the most. I have no idea what's important enough to readers to keep them entertained.
Sure, there's the little stuff -- clothing, carriages, weapons, food, etc. -- that needs to be there, but those are almost second nature to me now. It's the big stuff that gets me.
In ROMANCING LADY RYDER, I had to dive into the Russian side of the Napoleonic War. I also over reached with that research and nearly drove myself mad trying to figure out which aspects of the Russian culture at that time to use. Fortunately, as I was writing it, the excess fell away and I ended up with just enough detail to make the story convincing. (Convincing for fiction, that is.)
With this project I need to keep all the elements of the Catholic persecution, which is a very heady subject in itself, and try and write an interesting romantic storyline to go with it. Hmmmmm....
Wish me luck.
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013