The Tyranny of Research. Bring it on! | A Writer of History

You need some sort of plan for your novel before you start to research it, or how would you know what or where you needed to research, but serious writers of history clearly have to be prepared to tear up their original plan if that’s the only way of being honest in the depiction of a particular period and the attitudes of the people who lived at that time.

Research is, indeed, a tyrannical boss. You might be wondering, therefore, why the second half of my title for this post is Bring it on!

While we must bow, however reluctantly, to the findings thrown up by our research if we are to be true to our subject, once we’ve done that, we will find that our research is more than just a hard taskmaster – it is our friend.

It’s highly exciting to embark upon a process of exploration, thinking you know what you’ll find at the end, but then unexpectedly uncovering a dimension of which you’d never dreamed, a dimension which sends your creative powers down a totally different, but highly stimulating, path. Your research will help you to develop your plot and characters. The more you learn about your chosen period, the more ideas for characters and situations will fall into your lap as you seek out ways to give dramatic effect to the facts you have learnt.

The Tyranny of Research. Bring it on! | A Writer of History

Weekend Reads: “Entangled Threads”

Entangled Threads (A Victorian San Francisco Mystery Book 8)Entangled Threads by M. Louisa Locke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Annie Dawson always seems to find a mystery; this time, she’s been hired to audit the finances of Potrero Woolen Mills. Her former maid, Biddy, has also taken a job there; Biddy left her job at the department store under circumstances she prefers to keep secret. Biddy’s cousin Meghan works at the mill, so Biddy hopes to find work there as well.

And then, there’s a fire in the new knitting department, where Meghan is seriously injured. Soon, Annie’s looking into that along with the finances.

As always, M. Louisa Locke gives us an outstanding look into the lives of 19th C. San Franciscan women across the economic spectrum, from the servants to the wealthy. While the focus is on the lower and middle class, we also get to see the wealthy through the eyes of those who wait upon them. Combine the sociological information with a fair play puzzle, and you’re in for a real delight.

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Top tips for writing a dual or multiple timeline novel – The History Quill

Whilst it’s not easy to write this sort of multi-strand novel, the rewards are well worth the effort. A multiple timeline novel benefits from an enhanced narrative, with extra depth added to each storyline, resulting in a satisfying overall reading experience. Readers who may enjoy different genres can find more to interest them in a novel comprising different time periods or locations.

As a writer, the task of creating two, shorter length novellas, each with their own distinct characters and plotlines, can help to maintain focus. It also gives you the opportunity to hone your skills in writing from different narrative perspectives.

Dual and multiple timeline novels are highly commercial, and consistently sought by publishers.

Top tips for writing a dual or multiple timeline novel – The History Quill

I enjoy both reading and writing dual timelines. How about you?