OK, so you’re writing your Nanowrimo novel and skipping the research. Why take the time to look something up right now? Good move, just add a note there and keep going…get that word count in for today.
But what about when the writing is over? Now it’s time to go back and read what you wrote (if you can handle it). Sure, you’re gonna’ have tons of edits and rewrites, but we’ll get to that later. For right now, let’s talk about what proper research can do for your book.
I recently read two wonderful books that were based on historical fact. And what made them so great was that each author took the time to research their respective historical facts. Each book transported me back to a mysterious time where I could smell and feel what it must have been like to live so many years ago. This made it more interesting, more compelling and most importantly, more marketable. There’s nothing more frustrating than made-up facts that skew your thinking about a time in history.
For instance, if you’re writing about George Washington and decide to write about his Chinese mistress, make sure your story is based on some facts about him, the time he lived, what he wore, what he ate, etc. That way, your story has more power, it makes more sense. Maybe the Chinese mistress won’t be fact, but if it’s steeped in fact, it’s easier to swallow. If all the facts are changed, it takes away from the story.
The books? The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, which is set during the Salem witch trials in 1692 and the present time, and Rebecca Cantrell’s A Trace of Smoke, which takes place just before Hitler took control of Germany. Both are wonderful examples of historical fiction with compelling main characters and excellent research into the time period.
So do your homework when Nanowrimo is over, your work is just beginning!