Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fenella J. Miller 's #WriteTip on Research Before Writing Your #Book @fenellawriter #AmWriting #Historical

How to Research Your Story before Writing Your Book
I am a historical fiction writer and research is fundamental to my writing. As I write in three
different eras I have hundreds of research books to help me with my search for accurate historical detail. All my research books are physical books as I don't think reading a non-fiction book works very well on an e-reader. When researching I have slips of paper placed in the book at any relevant information, this is not possible with an e-book.
This is how I work. First an idea for the story comes to me, then the characters, and then the setting. The second thing I do is start reading as many books on the subject as I can find, not detailed research but background. I always buy at least four books whenever I'm starting to write something new; I already have four bookcases overloaded with my research library, I think I'm going to have to buy a fifth soon. I will also read any fiction set around the time, for instance "Dammed Good Show" by Derek Robinson, for background on RAF pilots.
When I think I know enough about the period I visit the area to make sure I have the names of streets, pubs and so on correct. This is why I tend to set my books in Essex and Suffolk. It is impossible for me to go away from home overnight in order to visit anywhere further afield.
When I have all this research correlated I write a plan of the story – not really anything detailed – just a couple of pages of notes with dates/names/events so I know where I'm going. I no longer need to do this with my Regency romantic adventures because having written so many, I am as familiar with the history of the period as I need to be for these light, frothy books. That said, usually refer to several research books whilst I'm writing the story.
When I begin to write I use the Internet as well as my research books. This is for detailed research. When I wrote the first part of Barbara's War I spent a long time looking for information about the inside of the bomber the hero was flying in. A helpful gentleman in America, who I discovered on the Internet, supplied me with diagrams of the interior of the plane so I could get the facts correct.
This is how I work, obviously other writers work differently. There is nothing worse than an inaccurate, anachronistic historical novel. I spent several hours finding out exactly where the seats for the pilot, gunner and navigator were situated on the plane – but there was only a brief mention of this in the book. I doubt there would be many readers any the wiser if I had got it wrong. However, all good historical novelists want every detail correct and would never skimp on research
World War II brings divided loyalties and tough decisions in this page turning drama from Fenella Miller.
Hannah Austen-Bagshaw’s privileged background can’t stop her falling in love with working-class pilot, Jack, but Hannah has a secret. Torn between her duty and her humanity, she is sheltering a young German pilot knowing she risks being arrested as a traitor. Hannah’s worst fears are realised when Jack finds out what she has done and their love begins to unravel.
Will her betrayal be too much for Jack to forgive?
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Genre – Historical fiction
Rating – PG
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