There’s little in life more exciting to me than starting a new writing project. There’s so much to do – get to know the new characters, learn the area, and if you choose to write a “period piece,” research the era.
Now, normally I’ll start a book by really getting to know the characters. And I’ve already had a cigar and brandy with Corrine. I feel pretty good about knowing her, but I still need to really grasp who she is. Della and I have talked a little bit about her background, but there’s more we need to discuss. And Katie? Well, she scares me. LOL So I haven’t approached her yet.
As for the area – I have a pretty good grasp of modern day New Orleans (shock, huh?). But not so much Immediate Post-Civil War era.
Which takes me to what I am loving researching right now – Civil War era America. Let’s face it – I have to be comfortable with the era before I can really write the character, right? I mean, I know butch women and while I don’t understand them, I’ve known a few femme women LOL But what were women like in 1865? How outlandish was it really to wear trousers? What sort of attire was proper? How did they speak? What conversations were acceptable for women and what were left strictly for the men?
One of my main characters is a new widow. How did they handle death during the war? Will her husband’s body be coming home for her to bury? How did they mourn? How long did they mourn? All these are important to know before I can really get into Della’s head.
And Katie – oh Kathleen – what on Earth did a rambunctious, headstrong 19 year old unmarried woman do all day? How much worry is it truly on a mother to have an unwed daughter of that age? What are the chances she’d have any male suitors?
As history has shown – I’m not always one to write about what’s proper (ahem). However, I do like to know where the limits are and how far over them one can step and still be realistic.
So I’m a researching fool right now. I want to know this era like the back of my hand so my novel rings true. Cuz y’all deserve only the best novel I can write, right?