Research for a historical novel

Research, True Stories by Jacqx
shirley and John interview with Jacqx

Research for a historical novel

Research for a historical novel – All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Librarians are angelic beings with unfathomable knowledge on how to find just about anything in the bottomless pit of books, information, resources, links, interlibrary loans, and nooks and crannies of cyberspace library heaven. Thank you, Kate, from Helensvale library for being so wonderful! Kate helped me find so many sources that I would not have found on my own. Librarians are truly worth their weight in gold.

I am now knee-deep in more books and DVDs, and loving it. Life without books would be tragic! I need to create characters from an era I know nothing about. I need to visually put myself back in that era, smell the smells, feel the elements, taste the (preservative-free?) food, hear the sounds, and get a spiritual feel for the atmosphere. I need a time machine. I need a vivid imagination that can travel in time. How do I do this? I’m a very visual person so for me I like to watch films, documentaries, look at photos, and the very best option is to talk to people. The library is the most fantastic source of information. Yes, Google is also wonderful but nothing beats a library and that includes librarians.

I did get to interview my leading lady again, and her brother. It was wonderful to hear their stories and see them come to life when they told them. It certainly gave me a sense of what life was like for them and helped me get a better picture of their parents. I still have quite a bit of work to do to recreate what they can’t remember because they were too young at the time. Actually, the more I learn from these colourful characters, the more I realise that their story will stand alone. I realise that the hardest part will be to get Chapter One done because this is the chapter that I need to recreate with limited information. My library resources are going to be a very valuable so there’ll be lots more note-taking in the next few weeks. I’ve already changed the first paragraph to Chapter One numerous times. It really is the most imperative part of a book. I need to convince the reader that my book is worth reading to the end. No matter how great my story sounds verbally if I don’t hook the reader in the first few paragraphs, or pages for some generous readers, then I’m a ‘goner.’ And if it doesn’t sound authentic to the era then ‘Ciao, baby’ is all I’m going to get, so I need to get it right!

Mmmm, quite a challenge. But, I’m certainly up for it. I’m so excited. I’m like a kid in a lolly shop, except the lollies are books! Don’t screw your nose up, books have no calories and are much better for you!

So, it’s back to work. Cheerio!

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Jacqx Melilli, author, editor, writing coach & playwright. Helping you write your legacy.


"I secured Jacquelin’s services to edit my book. The book was transformed under her guidance and I was grateful for the clear-sighted direction which she imparted with logical and also creative reasoning. The publisher was impressed with her edit and I know they have a better product as a result of her input."
Lyn Traill
Coach, speaker, author

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