I’m quite caught up in historical research–my first fictional foray into the genre. My era is post-Civil War, but just before many of the touchstones of the late 19th century.The advice to “junk it through” slows considerably when you’re not sure about attitudes, objects or other details in your work-in-progress (WIP). What to do?
Writing Tip for Today: As I’m writing, I will stop to research major social attitudes and lifestyles. If I’m unsure of these, I’m likely to get too much wrong. But for the details, I borrow a well-known but handy technique called placeholding. In place of the actual name, product or other detail, I use either XXXX or SSLT (translated: Some Stuff Like That) so I know to find the correct word at some point. That way, I’m not allowing details to derail my writing. Many details and social attitudes change over the centuries but many things stay the same: conflict, passion, love, jealousy. As you craft your historical scenes, don’t allow the details to halt progress while you look for the answer.
I posed this question on Facebook: If you are researching for an era, is it sufficient to check out materials from a library or is it more advantageous to purchase books or other materials?
And I just learned that dear Dan Penwell has passed away. He was a wonderful guy who ran the good race. We’ll miss him.