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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Retrievable Research for Historicals

Housekeeping note:  Some of my regular blog visitors have reported having difficulty using the word verification feature on Blogger.  I have noticed this too on all the Blogger blogsites I visit.  So just wanted to let you know that I'm aware of the problem and will check into it to see if there's a fix.  Stupid spammers anyhow! 

On to the topic:
I still wish I had a photographic memory.  One of the areas I continue to struggle with as a writer is amassing the tons of research you have to do for historical novels and then be able to organize it in a way you can retrieve it later.  When you consider how many different sources a writer may consult for one novel--and not only how many but in what form, this is a daunting task.  You've got books, articles, internet, even interviews.

When I first started researching I had tons of different files amassed.  Then I decided more recently, to put all my research notes into one large file (project still ongoing), no matter how big and unwieldy it got.  But even that isn't a cure all because sometimes I forget what I filed a topic tidbit under.  Madness I tell you!

So now in the current manuscript I'm working on, I have decided to try something new.  I am going to use the "comments" feature in Word and write within the manuscript itself, any helpful historical notes or cite sources where I got a certain piece of information.  I only just began this practice so it's too soon to tell how it will work.

If you have tips on maintaining and accessing research notes, I'd love to hear about them!

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