Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Research - The Chicken and the Egg

A large proportion of my novel is set during World War II. I love historical fiction because I love reading about times gone by. I remember watching a television series when I was at school (more years ago now than I care to remember) called “How We Used to Live” and I that programme shaped my fascination for the past. I wonder what happened to it. I would love to be able to see it now; just to see if the reality lives up to my memory.

So doing the research for my novel isn’t a problem for me. In fact I can easily spend hours delving into the facts to get things right. What I want to do more than anything is to create an accurate and vivid portrayal of the lives of my characters as they surmount the trials of war so this really is essential to the credibility of my novel.

When I had the idea for the novel i starting reading round lots of the subjects I thought would be relevant to the story and I read, and I read, and I read. And then I thought to myself, “Stop” as the novel was in danger of never getting to the writing stage.

Feeling as though I had some idea of the flavour of the times I began to write. And then I wrote and I wrote and I didn’t let the facts get in the way.

Now, though, I need to go back to the research. The tricky part is either finding the evidence to fit what I have written or having to completely change some of my plot lines. This I accept is inevitable if things didn’t happen the way that I have written but I keep looking in the hope of finding evidence to show that it could have happened that way.

I’m seriously beginning to think that my writing process is a bit rubbish. I should have either planned the novel out better in the first place, done my research, planned some more and then written it, or researched as I went along. This is certainly a thought for the next novel. It’s all very well having the words on the page, and no writing is wasted because you can learn from whatever you write, but it does pain me to think that I may well have to delete a large chunk of what I have already written.

How do you do research?


  1. Hi,

    thanks so much for taking the time to put this article together.

    Your passion for writing is very apparent and consistency is half the battle to getting published.

    With that in mind, I was wondering if you might be interested in submitting something for the magazine that I do the marketing for. It's a Canada-based magazine written by women, for women called Room (for more information see and @roommagazine)

    I can't guarantee publication as each submission is moderated by our editorial panel (all volunteers) but it's a great place for first-time writers.

    I wish you all the best with your writing.

    Kindest wishes, Olivia.

  2. Hi Oliva

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for providing information on the magazine. This is certainly one I will be looking into and hopefully I'll be able to put something together which might be of interest. Fingers crossed and thanks again for the advice.


  3. Hi! I recently joined your blog and am enjoying reading it. I recall that schools programme :) You can watch it on YouTube :D Good luck with your novel :)