Book Giveaway winners! - Tuesday's winner of Dana Cameron's Seven Kinds of Hell is Grapeshot/Odette. Wednesday we had a three way tie, winners are Mar, Vickie and Gram/Dee. (Winners will each get a vintage gardening book) Please send your snail mail addresses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congrats all! (BTW all the gardening ideas were clever..look for my garden pix in late April.)
ROSEMARY HARRIS: Some of us are in the 21st Century...and then again some of us aren't. I spent most of Tuesday with the fabulous Lyndsay Faye, the author of the Edgar nominated The Gods of Gotham. TGOG is set in the mid-19th century. And Lyndsay was my guest speaker at Norwalk Community College because in addition to being a terrific writer, she's an expert on Sherlock Holmes.
The woman is amazing. Total recall of 4 novels, 56 short stories and countless rehashes, copycats, pastiches, movies, television shows, radio programs - you name it - anything related to The Great Detective. It's as if the woman hasn't moved into the 20th century yet, much less the 21st. (In a good way.)
I'm feeling a bit of that myself lately.
MY WIP is historical. I haven't gotten the lingo down yet, I'm sure there are 87 sub-genres, but the point is, it's not contemporary. For the past month I've been living in 1899, with the occasional dip 20 years earlier and 20 years later. I haven't quite decided what the time frame of the story is just yet but it's considerably longer than the 5 days it took the corpse flower to bloom in my second book. (ala High Noon if anyone remembers that movie.)
I'm not too worried that I'll slip up and have someone use a cell phone or watch videos in 1899. Or say "Awesome!" - but I can't seem to stop doing research. Just when I think I have as much background info as I need, I stumble upon something else and think Wow maybe I should include that. And I go off down another road. Last weekend at a tag sale I bought a stash of magazines from 1912. It was as if I'd hit the motherlode. Other people were looking for the Picassso under the kids painting and I was going gaga over some moldy mags.
I don't think for a minute that all my research is going to wind up in the book. For my first 5 books I don't think 10 per cent of it actually found its way to the page. Lyndsay said that about 20-30 percent of her research wound up in her book, which I thought had an amazingly seamless integration of historical detail and storytelling.
Like anything, it's all in the doing. I've read some books where the research hit me over the head - "we get it...you're in Africa, now shut up and tell me a story..." and others where I thought "What a delightful story - and it's set in Africa. I love that!" I guess the trick is to write the latter and not the former.
But I'm enjoying the reading (research) so much there are times when I think I may never get to actually write my story...
How much detail is - as Hallie might say - TMI??