It’s IWSG time! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a large network of writers and we vent our frustrations and questions to the world every first Wednesday of the month. Check out IWSG here.

I’m writing again, what I think will be a full-length novel, a historical romance. I’ve read countlesss historical romances. I’ve even read a few where the heroine starts out a widow or married to someone else, but then falls in love with the hero and gets her HEA.

So, I’m not too worried that my heroine’s just become a widow in Chapter One. Besides, it’s a draft and I may very well trim the beginning next draft. Sigh. Oh well. I’m having fun while writing this, actually since it’s kind of like visiting old friends; these are characters I’ve had in my head for quite a while.

This month’s IWSG question: What is the coolest/weirdest thing you’ve ever had to research for your story?

Oh boy. Let’s see: *scrolls down to research tag*

I’ll venture to say that British noble titles, mourning customs, vague and archaic inheritance laws…are relatively normal to Google, at least if you write historical anything in Britain. Clothes? Also fairly normal.

Maybe it was when I had to research slavery, the West Indies, and plantations? Then again, when you’re writing a story that involves those elements, I don’t think the research itself is too weird. Disturbing, in many instances. But not weird in itself.

Or strange 18th century British taxes?

No, wait, definitely the historical epidemics.

Or maybe various New Hampshire ghost and other myths for a short story, “Haunted Lake”?

I think one of the coolest things I’ve researched, though, was the London theater scene of the 1890s.

14 thoughts on “IWSG May

  1. So exciting about the progress you're making! The first historical romance I read had a widow. Her husband was drunk and crazy and beating a hooker or whatever they were called back then, and this man comes to her defense and accidentally kills the guy. Then, because he's like a nobleman or something, he's married off to the widow for some reason, and she doesn't know he killed her husband! It was very good. I was also 13. LOL! I think the London theatre scene would make for very interesting research. A lot of what you research seems interesting though.


  2. I'm about 8K words in, so not bad. It's not a melodramatic historical romance, so far though. Love reading them, can't write those. Yeah, I'd like to get back to Victoria's story and the theater scene in the 1890s at some point–probably when I finish this one.


  3. Glad you're enjoying your writing process. That's the way it should be. I didn't answer this month's question. Considering the subject matter in my first book, my search history for that got a little disturbing.


  4. They didn't change hugely in the early 19th century, so I'm dealing with entails and primogeniture. But for the other story I have on hold, it's a bit more digging to find out when women could inherit and when the laws changed etc…


  5. Yay for getting into your MS and staying with the flow! Research can lead to the strangest things. I can't imagine what people would think of my past lists – exploding petroleum tanks, things mummies were used for in 1800s, herbal poisons. . . I just hope I never land in a court room, and my computer history is used against me.


  6. Congrats on getting back to your writing. I never liked doing research in high school or college. But the ease of which I can find out so much so easily has made me enjoy research. Even us sci-fi romance writers have to research. I wish I could visit some of the sites for real (like Titan) instead of online. Oh, well… Best wishes on that historical.


  7. The London theater scene of the 1890s sounds like something I'd be interested in. I can imagine the variety of information you stumbled upon when researching slavery and the West Indies…not always pleasant stuff.


  8. Congrats on the new novel! Hope it continues to go well.I've also had to research slavery in the West Indies for a book. Pretty upsetting stuff. I ended up hiring a researcher, as it was so difficult for me to find accurate information online.


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