And more on research... When in doubt, Kiss the Sword...
[The following is from a Writers Digest email article]
Over the last few weeks I have been reading several books. One of which, Writing Romances, is a handbook from RWA and WDB covering all aspects of being a romance writer, published in 1997. It contains an excellent essay on "Researching Historical Facts" by Roberta Gellis that would be useful for anyone wanting to do some research for a novel.
Gellis has advice:"Once you know how to use the library, the information available may seem overwhelming. Where and how does one start? Let me suggest the children's library. No, I'm not insulting you. Although I have spent nearly forty years researching one or another historical period and geographical place, I still go back to the children's library to start anything new."Most likely you already know the period and place in which you intend to set your novel, but if you do not or are looking for a new idea, try a children's book on world history. Such a book takes only a few hours to read and will present events in the most dramatic way possible. And children's books are especially good at describing how people live. One of the best books I have ever found on castles was a library discard from the children's section (Castles, by R. Allen Brown)."
And some cautions:"Let me warn you, however, that a primary source is not necessarily more reliable than a secondary source. For example, before modern times, the idea that a historian should be objective would have been considered laughable. For early historians, your friends and allies were good, your enemies were evil, and that was that. As you know, this attitude has not been wholly extirpated from the modern mind; however, the reputable modern historian is supposed to struggle for an impersonal view that presents all aspects of an event."
And Roberta, let's not forget the internet. We live in a great age for researching just about anything! Good luck with the research, and especially the writing, of your next story.
What I'm Writing