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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Writing Tip: Beginning a New Manuscript

Over the past week, I came up with a new idea for a manuscript. I'm thrilled with my start and still haven't written a word. How's that, you ask? The answer is research. This new project is strangely out of my element. Historical fiction, if you can believe it. Definitely YA.

Thanks to the internet, I've got quite a bit of research done. While there are some trips to the library in my future, I have enough information to sketch out a vague outline. Once I've got the detailing complete--more information on clothing, hairstyles, speech, proper etiquette--I'll start writing the manuscript.

Research is an essential part of my writing. I think I've had to look up information for just about all my manuscripts, though not to this amount of detail.

Here are some things I look for when I research information for a manuscript:
1. Time Period - what is unique about this time period?
2. Clothing, Styles, Language, Etiquette
3. Vocabulary - what words are important to the topic of the manuscript?
4. What kind of house, town, region?
5. Names - Keep the names appropriate for the time period or style of manuscript.

Any research ideas you'd like to share?


Little Willow said...


I let the characters name themselves.

Christine M said...

I have a historical fiction in the works too - I only have one chapter written so far. I really need to move forward on that.
The internet is a gold mine for research - but I did have to hit the library too of course. And I'm sure as I continue writing it I'll have to revisit some of my research (it's been on hold too long - some cryptic notes might not make sense anymore)
Can't wait to see your new story. What period is it set in?

PJ Hoover said...

Man, you're prolific!

-Read other novels from the time period.
-Internet, Internet, Internet
-Bargain books at B&N (good to keep in the car for quick readying while waiting during swimming lessons)
-Movies from the time period
-Time Machine :)

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I find research the most addictive part of creating a story. It's not research per se, but I enjoy making up family trees and figuring out how characters are related to each other. I also like to draw maps of the places where the characters live and interact.

Chris said...

I also try to watch movies of the era. I am currently working on a mystery set in 1984. I found those gift type books that give some stats like what gas cost, a loaf of bread, etc. and will also show some ads of the day as well as favorite songs, etc. I also have my own perspective of the year. Good luck with your manuscript!

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas, everyone! Good luck with your manuscripts. Hope 2008 brings good news to all of us!