I have been researching late 19th century France for Sophie lately.  I did a lot of research on the time period and the Dreyfus Affair way back before I wrote the first draft, of course, but while writing, questions arise.  For this manuscript, most of those questions had to do with being Jewish in that time and place.

Research is fascinating, and therefore dangerous.  So many things to learn!  So many reasons to keep reading! 

I’m currently reading a book about the beginnings of the Zionist movement, and I’ve learned some interesting facts that I’d love to weave into a manuscript, or even base a manuscript on, someday.

For instance, Victor Hugo (author of Notre Dame de Paris, known in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among other works of great literary merit) headed an organization in the 1880s that rescued Russian Jews, who were at the time suffering from the pogroms.

Theodore Herzl, considered the father of the Zionist movement, had syphilis in his 20s, and possibly lupus in his 30s.

Max Nordau wrote a book in 1892 called (in English) Degeneracy that argued that some art (including literature) was degenerate, and therefore the artists were degenerate, and the public needed to be warned of degenerate content.  His ideas led to the destruction of art and artists in Germany in the years leading up to World War II.

Can’t you just see the possibilities?  What have you read recently that got your creative juices flowing and the wheels turning?



Filed under writing

13 responses to “Research

  1. My problem is that EVERYTHING I read relates to my whisperers. I can turn anything into a plot for one of them. “Oh look at that dark whisperer Hitler!” Just reading your post gave me five blasted ideas. Geesh.

    Looks like you got some great ideas brewing too. 🙂 Amuses-toi!

  2. Vicki Tremper

    That’s what I meant by dangerous!

  3. Mmm… Let’s see. I’ve been digging into steampunk research lately, and it’s been hard not to let myself get carried away by new shiny ideas.
    I also plan on doing some digging about past west african kingdoms and empires. It should be fun, but I hope it won’t distract me too much from my editing schedule. 🙂
    Your possibilities are endless Vicki. I hope you have a notebook handy to write them down.

  4. I love research! I just found four more books on the Byzantine Empire to help flesh out my WIP. I’ve got the big history right, but I want nitty-gritty details on ordinary life. That’s part of what makes historical fiction so fun!

  5. That’s so awesome! Research definitely helps to create the “feel” of the era you’re writing in, even if you don’t directly use the information in your MS.

  6. Ooh there are some definite possibilities in those tidbits of research. I haven’t had the chance to read (or edit) much recently – something I’m hoping to remedy very soon! 🙂

  7. Neil Gaiman has been getting me think of writing MG in a different way. Good luck on your research!

  8. Oh cool! I love research… almost as much as writing the first draft. It opens up so many possibilities and gets your brain working in wonderful ways. This one sounds like a lot of fun!

  9. I just got the most recent issue of National Geographic in the mail. I love that magazine. The cover story is Cleopatra and I can’t wait to dig in- Non-fiction has an amazing way of feeding the imagination!

  10. Too much inspiration, not enough time to write. 🙂

  11. I love research because I get so inspired…..Plus you get to learn so much great stuff…

  12. Fascinating to learn that about Victor Hugo! But that Max guy – ugggh. It’s scary that people can buy into hateful, destructive ideas.

    I had a wonderful research day last week, discovered a phd thesis on the exact time period (and almost exact location) of my story in Greece. I love research!

  13. I like to go out and do stuff for my research. It’s not exactly the same, but I have fun and learn new stuff trying things out. Like last year I had to learn some physics to work on my manuscript, but I don’t really like research in the traditional sense.

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