I have 38072 words – which translates to 175 pages – done!
38000 words of research, that is 🙂
But with all the information I’ve gotten so far, it was enough to start writing. The research however is far from over. With every chapter I write (currently 77 pages) new questions come up. And I think the story – though made up – needs to be as close to reality of the 18th century as possible. You wouldn’t think it needs so much research, but the moment you ask yourself some simple questions, you realize it’s needed.
For example, what did people eat, what did they drink? Remember, most of the water, unless it was a mountain spring, was contaminated as there was no sewerage or water control.
How did they dress (women started wearing knickers, eg. underpans, only in the 19th century!! How, on the Moons of Senthia, did they handle a period, I still have no idea!) And then some larger questions, like the influence of the church on the population or changes in the philosophical views at the time. It all influences the story.
Dan Brown, when addressing the new writers, said “When your readers buy your book, they are not only paying for the words in the book”. Meaning, they are also paying for all the words you deleted, either because they have been edited out so that your story is distilled to enable your reader the best experience possible. But he also means the many words of your research, because although none of your readers will see those words, they will certainly feel if the author did the research or not.
And I completely believe him. Research is mandatory. Because you see, some time in the future, next year, or the year after that, this book will be finished. And in that moment, I will ask you to put away your life, your busy, interesting life where you are the protagonist and the main character in your story. And I will ask you to put aside this particular life for a few hours and give your full attention to my book. To my story.
And this is a lot to ask.
Your attention, your time, is the greatest currency.
For me to be able to ask something like that of you, I need to do the best job possible, and the research is at the very basis of it, because you will not believe my characters, you will not live in my story, if it doesn’t ring true.
So, I’ll continue researching and writing, and to you I wish happy reading!
Yours, Tara Jade