One of my favourite things about writing about the past is doing the research. Both of my novels have been set in the recent past and so there have been plenty of personal accounts to give an insight to the environment and era. People love to be asked about the 1960’s and many of my friends and colleagues have rich recollections of that period. Whereas my first novel took place in Spain, this second one is located in York and its surroundings, making it easier to research. I spent several days in the fabulous Railway Museum in York where there are old photos, magazines and articles. While there, York Theatre was closed and the company relocated to the National Railway Museum to perform. We were fortunate enough to obtain tickets for the incredible production which told the history of the York Railways against the backdrop of the wonderful old engines and carriages. Over 200 performers were involved.
My research in Spain led me to villages affected by the Spanish inquisition and along the paths less travelled by the normal tourist. Locals filled me in on their customs which change from one area in the country to another.
The best thing about the research is that my understanding of my subject develops and hopefully makes my writing entertaining and realistic.
photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Rachel yearned for the sight of land. Twenty seven days, they tossed on the ocean waves in a container that seemed smaller with each passing day. The romantic notion was now a reality and not even the midnight sky with thousands of twinkling stars could re-ignite her passion. She hated him.
Behind was a life of comfort, family and the country she loved.
Ahead nothing but more days of salty spray. The world adventure he offered.
She peeled the gold band off of her finger, lobbed it into the wake behind and sighed.
‘Your watch’, she shouted down the hatch.
http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com organises the successful Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work. Come and join us and see where your imagination takes you. Thank you Rochelle for keeping this group active.
The solicitor wore an expression of sympathy and handed me the sealed envelope. After shaking his hand, I maintained a mask of my own until the lift doors closed. Alone, I tore at the gummed strip with trembling hands. This was what I had been waiting for my entire adult life.
My daughter inherits my estate. The enclosed key will reveal all.
At last, my reward. The address and name of the bank followed.
I now remember that I skipped my way there.
In the dark bowels of the bank, I opened the safety box.
Even in death, he tortured me.
rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com continues to run the successful Friday Fictioneers where authors write a piece of 100 word fiction on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work. Thank you Rochelle for keeping this group active.
I am writing my second novel and using Scrivener to ease the word processing side of things. As I am a collector of things, I have discovered another benefit of the package. Instead of paste, copy and print pages filling my files, I now insert the information (or even better, a link to a webpage) in the research area of my project. HOWEVER, Scrivener does not stop me being distracted by my research.
For example, today I wanted to find out where the police station in a famous city was located during the early 1960’s and also what it looked like when a visitor walked in to the entrance. I found a wonderful website of old press photos. It is now 2 hours later and I have yet to discover the police station but have had a grand time browsing the old images and picturing life in the past. And that is the problem with research – it’s too interesting.
I finally made it through the Tutorial and have input the information on my characters and settings using the templates, uploaded my first chapter onto the editor and created some categories for my research binder. Now, in theory, I am ready to continue writing. However, I still have to work out how to use the inspector effectively. Apparently this will show me a synopsis of what I am working on in an index card type of display.
Okay, jargon aside, let me discuss what I have discovered so far.
Hurray, I will not lose my place in my work if I am working on page 3 and want to look at page 999 (I wish) to check consistency.
I will be able to look at the story line for each character by hitting a few buttons.
My research can be held on tap so that I am able to switch views between it and my document.
At the end (in 1, 2 or however many years it takes) I will be able to convert the document into any format I wish.
Sadly, the package will not replace adjectives with strong verbs, write what I know, or create the perfect best-selling novel.
Update in a few days everyone.
By the way, one of my readers, scottishmomus at wordpress, used a different package called Yriter5 and was pleased with its performance.
I have started writing my second novel using Scrivener (on a trial run for the moment). When I began the tutorial, my eyes felt like those funny ones that spring out of a pair of glasses. I did think that the trial may quickly be put aside as I did not feel that I wanted to waste time learning a new software package whilst in the creative stages of my work.
HOWEVER, my eyes were drawn to the piles of paper and post-its and index cards that are inching their way out of my study and I decided that now is the time. I mean, I do write on a computer anyway so how hard can it be?
Anyone else out there trying something different in their writing?
Some interesting points were made in the comments on Part I of this subject by Daniel and also by Creative Mysteries. Thanks to you both.I agree that there is a great freedom in allowing the story to unfold as the imagination dictates. I participated in Nano (National Novel Writing in a month) last November and started on day 1 with an idea and no plan or structure. Although the 55000 words I produced were not worthy of publishing they did give me a great starting point for my novel.
I love the idea of watching YouTube of writers speaking about their work and although I am glued to my computer I hadn’t considered searching on that forum so will take that advice.
I have just read a post by Suddenly Jamie @suddenlyjamie about smart planning and time management. Some useful tips there for us all.