Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lost on the Internet in 1861


At last I have gotten a real handle on this story I'm telling. I have been so bogged down in preliminary research -- and there's quite a bit to know about the Civil War in western North Carolina -- that it's been hard to narrow down and focus on the story I want to tell. But my characters are telling me their stories now and leading me where they want me to go so I am doing research as I go. 

 I now know more than I did about bandages (lint) of the era; I know that germ theory was not widely known; I know about scarlet fever and muzzle loaders and how Quakers use thee and thou.

If not for the Internet . . . but I can't even imagine writing a book like this without it -- or a team of research librarians. 

The main points are in the books I have at hand (though they contradict one another more than one could wish.) But the little everyday things that make a story come to life, that make a reader feel he's really there, that's where Mr. Google is so helpful. 

 I went from wondering what sort of bandage would be used to realizing that Polly and her friends might well have a bandage rolling party -- I know I've read about something of the sort in books of the era.

The weather is chilly and mostly gray -- not conducive to pictures but good for writing.  Of which more later.. Just now I have to find out what instrument a doctor would use to extract a ball (from a Colt 1851 Navy Revolver) lodged against a rib . . .

Oh, the places I'll go....



15 comments:

Martin Hodges said...

Where the internet comes into its own. Sounds fascinating, Vicki.

Manisha Singh said...
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Susan T said...

OK...so I'm a couple of days late (and many dollars short..but let's not go THERE!).....but I needed to confess that Fantasia scarred my psyche. My sister loved it and so kept talking about how wonderful it was....I can remember the chill....brrr

Brian Miller said...

ha. sounds like you are having a bit of fun following the branches of the tree...and pop corning...its cool...and will def pay off....

Carol Bryner said...

I love the way you share your process of research and writing with us. I love delving into the past and look forward to your book.

Carol Bryner said...

I love the way you share your process of research and writing with us. I love delving into the past and look forward to your book.

Kath Marsh said...

Congratulations! I don't know which is more fun. Research or finally immersing in the story.
Yes. I do. The story, but research is close behind!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Glad you're getting ahead on this, research sometimes can be so deep with all the details. But it's also like being a detective, and one thing just leads to another. Kind of like the spam about protien powder comment above. Where did that come from?

NCmountainwoman said...

When an author says the weather is good for writing that is a very good thing. Write on. We can't wait for the book.

Jim Egerton said...

Thank you for taking us with you back to the civil War in Western North Carolina.

Inger said...

And after learning all those things, you have that Cold Mountain spirit just outside your door in those beautiful mountains.
I am looking forward to reading this book.

Cathy Keller said...

It sounds like a grand adventure!!!!! Wishing you well!!! Cathy

Victoria said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book, Vicki! I remember reading about Melanie and Scarlett rolling bandages in "Gone With the Wind."

Darla said...

I am thoroughly enjoying these posts about your research. If I'd read about this kind of historical research a couple decades ago, I'd have wondered how anyone could possibly undertake writing an historical novel. Now, even though I'm not sure I would want to write that genre, I've experienced at least a tiny bit of the journey into the past and it can really be amazing. Kudos to you for the facts and details that will show up in your latest novel!

Deanna said...

The civil war never fails to fascinate. When I went to college I had no interest in history of any kind. Thanks to a professor who was able to bring history to life, I graduated just three credit hours shy of having a second minor - in history. I cannot tell you how I am looking forward to this book.

Enjoy surfing!