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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reveille in Washington

When it comes to research and being productive as a writer, I am an example you should look at and do the exact opposite. 8-)

One of the rules you will always hear from successful writers of historical fiction is that you have to rein in your research--do only as much research as you need and do NOT get lost going down many bunny trails. Get the facts you need then get down to the business of writing.

I can't do that. Not even at the cost of my own success. I LOVE research as much as I love writing. I love exploring history. I love that feel of excitement as I read non-fiction historical texts and immerse myself in a time and place of long ago. It's like being on stimulants or feel good drugs. It's a high. It makes me HAPPY.

I have a scene or two in my next book that will be set in Washington D.C. circa 1860-65. One of the awesome writers on one of my historical email lists pointed me to a book by Margaret Leech called Reveille in Washington (I'd paste in the link for you but for some reason I can't figure out, Blogger is not letting me paste links). It is exactly what I needed to give me a picture of Washington D.C. during that time. I'm only up to page 25 but I have already been highlighting and making many notes, as well as learning several new words of the time that I'd not even seen before.

Now if I were smart, I'd just skim the text, grab what I need and get on with plotting the two scenes in question.

But the book is just too interesting to pass by quickly. I'll keep plotting my novel--and plodding through this great text.

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