Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Old friends

August is the time of year I start to think seriously about my NaNoWriMo project.

Although November still seems like forever away, I know that if I want time for my characters, plot and setting to develop gradually and organically in my mind, and then be firmed up enough to actually get writing on the 1 November, I need to start early.

This year, though, I'm already slightly ahead of schedule, because I'm pretty sure which idea from my notebook I want to explore. Remember those characters that were causing me sleepless nights last month? (They're here... http://elliedarkins.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/its-mystery.html) Well, I think the time has come for me to try and work out what is going on.

One thing that I'm absolutely sure of is that the time between now and November is going to be filled with a huge amount of research - because I've had a sneaking suspicion all along that these aren't contemporary characters.

I read a lot of historicals, and historical non-fiction, but I've never written a historical story before, and at the moment research seems like an impossible chickenegg-type situation ... What do I research first? How do I know what to research if I don't know the plot? How can I outline a plot without knowledge of the historical context? So I'd love some advice from anyone who knows more than me (ie very little) about going about writing a historical novel, or anyone who has ideas for how to get started. Please help!



  1. Hi Ellie,
    This all sounds really exciting and I found your question here interesting: 'How can I outline a plot without knowledge of the historical context?'. I think the advice 'leap and the net will appear' may be good here? Couldn't you do a little research into your chosen time period and develop character and plot at the same time, with each idea feeding into the others? That way you'll be gently fleshing out the parts of your story, keeping the character and plot that will fuel it fresh (without getting bogged down in historical detail). You can always fill in gaps and bring in colour and detail later? Good luck, sounds fab! Vanessa x

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      Thanks so much for the advice. I think I'll start reading, and hope the way forward becomes clear!