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Research Hot-line, Anyone?

April 27, 2010

My novel is set in England during the Regency and sometimes I struggle with getting the details right because a) I don’t live in England and b) I wasn’t alive during 1795-1837, respectively.

While I do have a collection of history and biography books about the period, and 9 times out of 10 I can find out what I want on the internet (thank you, Wikipedia!), there’s always that one little detail you want but can’t find no matter how many times you re-word in ‘Google search’.

I wish there was a Research Hot-line I could call. Excuse me, but how long is the strawberry season in England? Were doors made out of oak, primarily? Were umbrellas commonplace by 1813? Did London have sidewalks? Was there pea-soup fog or was that more a Victorian phenomenon?

I can get too hung up on the history. For gods sake, I tell myself, it’s not a PhD dissertation, its a fictional novel! Stop dithering and just make it up.

If I’ve got it wrong, and someone notices, I’m sure they’ll let me know eventually…

4 comments

  1. If only there were a research hotline! That would be writing bliss, I tell you! I love researching, although if I’m not careful that’s all that I end up doing. I have a selection of books too, internet (of course) and periodical journals. Oh, I could just research all day… 🙂

    My question is, how much detail is too much? Too little? That’s what I get hung up on… thoughts?


  2. Wouldn’t it be grand just to call up one’s research request as if were pizza? “Yes, I’d like to know the exact route my carriage would take from Malbourough to Whitechaple Road…and can I get some Pepsi with that?”

    As to how much detail is too much or too little…that’s a tough one! I think that might be personal & intuitive…and based on what one likes as a reader. Personally, I skim any really long descriptive passages in books (don’t have the patience for ’em, want to get on it with the action) and prefer description in little bits & pieces scattered thru out the book. However, I know others who LOVE long descriptive passages….

    Perhaps a beta-reader would help? Someone who can read it over and advise their opinion?

    Thanks for dropping by B!

    Julie J.


  3. […] I’ve enjoyed my hours of researching, I still would love for someone to move forward with my Research Hotline […]


  4. […] there was a Research Hotline, maybe I could call it…and they could filter through all the letters, journals, books, […]



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