Monday, March 16, 2009

Research - A Writer's Lifeline

I've got research on my mind because I'm writing a sequel to my historical romance, "Indian Summer". Although fairly conversant with the time period, new things pop up. I needed a timeline for the battle I'm going to include in my story. I could find a few basic facts, but it wasn't until I came across a website that was of important dates in Georgia history, that I got what I needed. Strange, since I'm writing something set in Florida. However, since the attack was led by General Oglethorpe and his troops were stationed in Georgia at the time, I suppose it makes sense.

Another fact that presented itself (from the Georgia timeline) was the name of an obscure fort that was attacked prior to the siege of St. Augustine. Fort Diego? Where's that? Obviously, this led to more questions than I had answers for. Initial web searches gave me a lot of information on Fort Diego in California (now San Diego), but didn't help the Florida research at all. I did a serach for 'forts in Florida' and got a list. Eventually, with a bit of digging, I found it's location - well, sort of. It's now a golf course, but at least I found it!

Each little tidbit made me so proud, I had to read it all to my husband and eldest son this morning. They were both interested, which was nice. There's nothing like sharing these little gems with someone who couldn't care less.

The main problem I have with research is that I have a tendency to get off subject really easily. I have to force myself to focus and it's not always easy. I find some juicy tidbits which are fascinating, though unrelated to my subject. I often am tempted to follow these leads.

However odious you might find research, being accurate is so very necessary. Even something not fully related with the story, like the Fort Diego problem, can be necessary background material that I, as the writer, need.

1 comment:

Author Jill Murphy Long said...


I'm an author too and the owner of The Writer's Sanctuary B&B in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I thought I did an extensive search before locking in this website address:
but when I google, your site comes up. I thought we could work together and send writers back and forth depending on what they are seeking. Are you interested?

Jill Murphy Long
970 846 1428

Pls. see quick overview of B&B below or visit my website.

The Writer’s Sanctuary B&B in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Imagine a day where all of your cares and worries are put aside, so you can just write… come to The Writer’s Sanctuary B&B in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado and write under the tutelage of award-winning author, Jill Murphy Long. This creative writing professor will motivate you and your writing to new levels whether you stay a weekend, a week or a month! Bring your work-in-progress or your idea for your new book. Be inspired, motivated, and committed to your writing this year! Please visit: or call (970) 846-1428.

The Best Medicine by Dellani Oakes – Part 39

Morgan came in a couple of hours later. Caden met him in the foyer. "Is that my shirt?" Morgan said after saying hello. &q...