About the Writer: Victoria Grossack, a former moderator of a
critique group with Coffeehouseforwriters, has published articles and
short stories for various magazines. She is creating a set of novels
placed in Bronze Age Greece with her frequent collaborator, Alice
Tapestry of Bronze, and read about Iokaste: The Novel of the Mother-Wife of Oedipus, under contract for
publication, as well as their work in progress.
About the Writer:
Victoria Grossack, a former moderator of a critique group with Coffeehouseforwriters, has published articles and short stories for various magazines. She is creating a set of novels placed in Bronze Age Greece with her frequent collaborator, Alice Underwood. Visit Tapestry of Bronze, and read about Iokaste: The Novel of the Mother-Wife of Oedipus, under contract for publication, as well as their work in progress.
Victoria also teaches a workshop in Writing Historical Fiction for Coffeehouse for Writers.
Digging into the Past: Doing
Research for Historical Fiction Part II: Where to Dig
In the first part of this article we discussed what you need to research to make your historical fiction authentic for your readers, as well as how much research you need to do to give them that satisfied-reader experience. In this part of the article we’ll go into where you can locate the information you need.
Doing research may feel like a burdensome chore, rather like doing homework. But for the writer, who spends so much of her time alone, conducting research offers a chance to interact with other people, especially people who are interested in your time period. And the more it becomes your time period, the more you will most likely enjoy it. Moreover, many people with expertise will be delighted to help you, because it gives them the chance to share their knowledge with people who are truly interested. There are, of course, some who won’t be so helpful, perhaps because they already receive so many requests.
So, how can you find out what you need to know? Let us list the ways:
Also, feel free to write to whoever put together the website – most of those people will be delighted to know that they have interested visitors. You can usually find contact instructions somewhere on the website, although some make it easier to access than others.
Libraries and more importantly, Librarians
Bookstores, both virtual and real and bookstore owners
Note: Ask help the people who work in the bookstore for assistance. If you end up buying a book, you will pay for any questions. And who knows, they might just end up selling your book later.
Museums & Museum Staff
And don’t be shy of speaking to the museum staff! Many will be delighted to have someone show real interest in their displays.
Documentaries and Films
Scene of the Action
One of my richest and most enjoyable research experiences happened during my visit to Thebes in Greece, when I was learning all I could for the setting for Iokaste: The Novel of the Mother-Wife of Oedipus. I had made an appointment by fax with the director of the Archaeological Museum at Thebes. He answered questions, let me thumb through his library, and showed me recently unearthed shards. He even drove me around the area to significant sites in “my” legend, including where the Sphinx might have roamed, where Oedipus might have washed off the blood after killing his father, and where the sons of Oedipus might be buried.
Send thank-you notes
List your sources