Researching Other Time Periods – Story Empire

Researching Other Time Periods


Happy Monday, SEers! You’re with Mae today as we wind down to the last week of November. If you live in the U.S., that means it’s almost Thanksgiving.  I wish you a happy Turkey Day in advance. May it be filled with fun, family, and good food!

Victorian parlor with ornate furnishings, wallpaper, and two windows

Earlier this month, I shared a post about researching locales for settings. If you missed that post, you can find it HERE. Today, I want to talk about other time periods. And no—this isn’t simply a post for writers of historical fiction. Often, it’s necessary to reference something from another time period, whether an event, person, furnishings, or custom. As usual, the internet is a great tool with plenty of blogs devoted to historical information and various time periods. I use it frequently. Most every novel I’ve written draws on some aspect of history, with several having entire chapters set in the past.

My normal MO is to immerse myself in nonfiction related to the time period of interest.  This is especially true if I’m researching a specific event (i.e, the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia) or topic (sham mediums in the late 1800s). I’ll buy anywhere from 1-3 books, read through them with a highlighter,  making notes in a separate workbook as I go. Usually as I read,  I’m plotting how to apply the information to my characters or setting. This is a lengthy process which I normally undertake before I start a new writing project.

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