Researching Historicals...

Deborah Raney had a recent post about why she doesn't write historicals, explaining - in a nutshell - that she would get bogged down during the drafting process "second-guessing myself on every single word" wondering if she was being anachronistic or using the appropriate term for the simplest tools or articles of clothing.

To this I say, bring on the square brackets! Diana Gabaldon talks about this a lot, and it really works. While you're in the midst of a first draft, as long as you have a basic concept of your time period, you don't need to get bogged down in details. If I write "she looked at him across the lantern in his hand" I can just square bracket [lantern] and come back to it later, to see if it ought to be an oil lamp, a candle or what have you.

Of course, if you're not a stickler for accuracy, you could write a book like this one. (Please click on the link - I promise you won't be disappointed!)

In case you missed it, Google had a Doodle for Agatha Christie's birthday on the 15th:

Also, join the discussion at Ink Spells: Where Are the Adult Heroes in Kidlit?


Al said…
Square brackets are brilliant to put in a detail you want to check later. I use asterisks for the same purpose (all the time)
Deniz Bevan said…
Ooh, asterisks work too! I was thinking back this morning on stories I used to write and marvelling at how little I cared about accuracy since I only ever showed them to a handful of people. I just write, and hang the consequences!
Francine said…

Found you via Tally's blog.

What a fab idea Squares!

I write historicals, absolutely adore getting away from modern gadgetry, and oh the joy of no cars!


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