RESEARCH FOR THE NON-RESEARCHER By Rae Ann Parker
What do you do when you get a story idea that won’t leave you alone and it’s set in another time period? Or a ghost from another time period shows up in your story and needs clothes and speech that are historically correct? If you are like me, first you probably try to make the ghost go away. When he won’t, it’s time for some research.
Here are a few resources I’ve used in my research after some coaching by my friend, award-winning historical fiction author, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb.
Books – biographies, non-fiction accounts of the time period and events, books on clothing from the time period. Do not use novels for your research. You run the risk of repeating the same mistakes another author made.
Newspapers/Magazines – advertisements from the era. My local library has an extensive collection of LIFE magazines. I go to the library and read through the editions for the year my story takes place, writing down what brands were popular and current prices.
Ebay – enter the year of your story. You may find magazines, post cards and other treasures.
YouTube – music/movies from the era you are researching may be available.
Library Of Congress – www.loc.gov Info is available in their Digital Collections and “Ask A Librarian” allows you to email or even live chat with one of the librarians.
There are many more resources available online. I have learned that when you start with one resource, it leads to another and another. Pretty soon you have an entire bibliography of research for your project. And you may even learn to like research, just a little bit.
Rae Ann Parker writes MG School Stories and YA fantasy and is represented by Hen&ink Literary Studio. When her characters demand it, she also does a lot of research. You can visit her website at www.raeannparker.com and find her on twitter at http://twitter.com/raeannparker.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Catch Rae Ann Parker and Cate Hart in the Music City talking about YA Romance for today’s market: YA Romance: High School, Super Powers, & the Love Triangle: Music City Romance Writers www.mcrw.com