Justine: Prepping for a Research Trip

49665157 - travel holiday vacation traveling laptop technology conceptIn a couple weeks, I’ll be headed across the pond for 10 days of research in London for my next couple Regency romances. It’ll be my third time in the lovely country of England and I have some very targeted sites I want to see. For the most part, I’ll be in London (renting a flat via Airbnb this time that puts me right in the heart of Mayfair, near Grosvenor Square and Hyde Park).

If you’ve never taken a research trip before, here are my tips for things to bring (or do) when you head out one one. Continue reading

Michaeline: Carving out Characters and Your Own Identity through Research

Newspaperwoman Nellie Bly in her famous check dress, ready to embark around the world.

Nellie Bly made it around the world in 72 days in 1889-1890. What can you do in 72 days in 2014-15? (Wikimedia Commons)

So, the good NaNoers of the world who finished their word counts and their stories are resting their manuscripts and working on something new, or something old this month, but what are the rest of us doing?

I am feeling a little goal-less this month. The nice thing about doing NaNo in November is that there is always a goal. Even if I’m only making 50 percent or 10 percent of the goal, I still know it’s there, and that can be incentive to open up the file and start typing some more.

In December, I have to be a self-starter. I have to make my own goals. I took a look at my progress last month, and realized that I want to do more research, and I also want to capture some of that research in writing. However, 50,000 words a month is simply not reasonable. Fortunately, one of the many ah-ha moments I had last month was that even if I only write 10,000 words a month, if I do that for 10 months, I’ll have a lot of words.

Only 2,500 words a week seems like too much of a low bar (although, lord knows there have been many weeks when I haven’t cleared it), so I decided I want to do 5,000 words or two scenes, whichever feels more satisfying. Also, each week I want to read one book related to the fin de siecle world I’m creating.

This week, I have the books covered! Continue reading

Michaeline: Research vs. Writing, a NaNo Battle Royale

A man trying to escape a circle of files

I don’t feel like this, yet . . . . The hard part is figuring out when I’ve got enough research, and when I’ve boxed myself in with research. (Thanks to Wikimedia Commons)

I’m feeling a little like a NaNo failure this week. Last week, I didn’t make my word count, but at least I wrote every single day. This week, I didn’t make my word count, and only wrote three days. The plot for the next several scenes is in my head, but not on the page, and that feels like a failure to me.

I did research, though. I don’t think NaNo is really set up for historical novels, unless the writer already has a firm “historical world” built up in her or his head already. I’m finding it so difficult to write without a firm patch under my feet. The research really is necessary.

On the other hand, I spent all of October “researching” – rather directionless with only a vague idea as to location (New York, which is a very big city), and time (1880 to 1914 – which is a time of huge change). It’s only when I started writing that my research started forming that firm patch beneath my feet.

All I can say is thank goodness I’m writing in a time with lots of newspapers, pictures, photographs and people recording what went on – the exciting thing is that Edison’s wax records were available in 1899, Continue reading