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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thoughts on the Writing Process - Research & the Internet

I am currently working on a romance set during the Civil War….actually, that’s a misstatement…this romance is working me, making me grit my teeth, pull out my hair and giving me heartburn and it just seems so much different (and more difficult) than the westerns I normally write. I am compelled to write it though. My characters have been talking to me for a long time. I am compelled to finish it and appease the voices in my head (am I crazy? Well, the jury is still out on that question).
            But I digress (and my apologies for doing so….but you guys should be used to that by now). I’d like to talk today about research and well….getting lost in that wonderful (and dangerous) place called the Internet.
            How much historical fact is important to you when you read? Or information about the chosen profession of the characters? I understand you don’t want to be hit over the head with it, but little tidbits sprinkled here and there are good, aren’t they? And those little bits of information need to be correct, too, don’t they?
            Well, I like to think it’s important so…I went to look up one thing on the internet, one little fact…and well, three hours later, I was still looking up that one thing BUT oh, I had learned so much. And I admit, I had gotten lost. What did I want to look up? Hospitals during the Civil War. Where were they? How did they come to be? Who staffed them?
            I found that both Confederate and Union alike set up hospitals wherever they deemed necessary—in tents on the battlefield, sometimes right next to the cannons that fired continuously, in old barns that were falling down around their heads, in schools, and yes, in people’s homes. This last tidbit I found the most interesting. I also learned of Mary Edwards Walker, a woman surgeon during the war, which I also found most interesting, and led me to other women who participated in some way and is it any wonder why I got lost for so long?

As always, happy reading!


  1. That was a great article, Marie! Very interesting, and I do agree that to learn those not so often talked about historical facts in a great romance is a bonus.
    I bet your novel will be a "can't put it down" story. Do you think other authors tear their hair out also when writng the great novel?

  2. Thanks, Dawn! I love finding little tidbits that interest never knows where that one little tidbit might lead. As for your other writers tear their hair out when they write? I don't know. I've met a good number of authors and they always seem to have beautiful hair so I think the answer would be "no", but I have no idea what else they might do!

  3. I had to laugh at that! I think the other authors did their hair before you saw them!