Monday's Muse~Ancient History

I spent almost every free moment I had last week researching for my new novel, a historical young adult fantasy. It's set in Ireland, hence the picture of this amazing old castle. Researching this has been so much fun. I've started outlining now and can hardly wait to begin writing it. This one feels like it's going to be special.

My sources of research ranged from the internet to the real world. My favorite place to search for anything is Google and Wikipedia. But, as with anything you discover on line, you have to double check your facts. I love libraries and believe they are one of the best places to go for research and fact checking. However, the library in my town barely has more books than I do in my personal collection (it's a very tiny, isolated, town). In the absence of a library I go to Barnes and Noble's on line store and pick up the best books on the subject I can find.

Since I'm moving on to outlining my new novel I'm going to have to put together a playlist for it. Until then I've just put my MP3 player on shuffle. How about you, what is your favorite means of research when it comes to information for a novel?


  1. I've used so many things--online resources to old textbooks and papers, books I've bought, maps (real historical PDFs of maps have been really helpful!) and historical societies.
    Good luck with your research!

  2. Ooh, I love research. I guess I'm a nerd. :) I love Wikipedia too, but I love going to actual books for what I need. I also REALLY love onsite research, which I've only been able to do once. I learned so much by going to the location my book was set!

    Good luck with your research, I hope you find what you need!

  3. Thanks Lydia! Maps, great point. That's another thing I love to use when I'm researching. I love to go on Google maps and go to satellite, then zoom right in on the area where my book takes place. It's a huge help!

  4. Don't feel bad Shallee, I love it too! And you're right, onsite research is absolutely the best! I've had the opportunity to do it a few times and I highly recommend it whenever possible. Thanks for the good luck!

  5. This picture is breathtaking Heather. The colors really pop, def a good inspiration!

    As for how I like to do research, well, I usually turn to books for my info needs. I don't turn much to the library because I like to own my own research books for future reference. I also turn to previously pubbed authors. I write historical romance and info on my historical time period is a hot topic in romance. Many authors share their own research finds on their websites. I love that they take the time to share, it really beats down on my own research time!

  6. You're welcome Lindsey, it is beautiful isn't it? Thanks for the tip on authors sharing their research finds on their websites. I'll be sure to check them out!

  7. Love the dreamy castle! And I LOVE to read/watch historical fiction. No one loves a period piece more than me.
    BUT, I HATES research. Boring. Zzzzz. But, I'm not a planner or outliner. I think outliner-types tend to love research.
    This would explain why I don't write historical fiction. (I'm too lazy!)

    Yeah. So since I don't outline and I start a book with a character in my head demanding to be listened to, I never know what journey that character is going to take me on. Thus, I don't know what kin doff research I need to do ahead of time. After my first draft I do whatever (minimal) research needs to be filled in. So far it has all been done online or by calling or talking to a professional. (I speak to medical professionals, M.E.s, police, etc., and look up cars and maps etc. online.)

    Some field trip type research IS fun, looking up the fashion/attire would be fun, and asking the professionals some crazy questions is also fun...looking up government laws and such, *yawn* NOT fun to me. The mere thought of doing the kind of research you're doing makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spork. (I LOVE reading political thrillers, but all the research that would go into writing thanks.)

    But I sure am happy there are people like you that love to do it, so I can enjoy reading the books and watching the films. :)

    Have a wonderful week, Heather!

  8. Ohh. Love, love that picture. Research is also my favorite part. I wrote a creature novel that had journals from the 1900s - so I went to the library and got old maps and population info to make it all fit. Then I got to go tour this CRAZY "haunted" little town outside of where I grew up that is completely off limits, normally. Talking to "old timers" on the phone to get some speak-easy information was a blast.

  9. Heather I love the internet. I just google and google and google. I could spend hours researching and reading. I also have access to the Capella online library, so that helps too. I usually drop into Wikepedia... short, concise but you're right... check the facts!
    Love the picture!

  10. Definitely the internet. What did we ever do before google? Good luck on the new WIP! I'm diving into revisions myself...

  11. I love that castle photo.

    I guess it just depends on what type of research I'm doing. My most memorable research activity this year was attempting to set a space blanket on fire to see how it would burn. the label said it was flammable but all it did was crackle and melt, but that's what I needed to know.

  12. Sometimes I get really mad at myself when I put these characters in situations and then I have to go learn about it...what can I say? Boxing just isn't my thing.

  13. Lola, it must be fun to have your character take you on a journey and not know where it will end up. That would be such a fun surprise! I kind of envy you a bit for that.

  14. It is a beautiful picture isn't it Bethany? It makes me long for Ireland. Investigating a crazy little off limits town had to have been so much fun! Is that part of the story you're getting ready to submit?

  15. Thanks Karlene, you sound just like me!

    Field research, I love that Paul! That is some of the most fun! You make an excellent point about literally checking facts. Labels aren't always reliable and reading doesn't replace experience.

  16. LOL! I know what you mean Kaylie. There are some things I don't want to research that end up in my books too!


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