Friday, August 14, 2009

Researching and Interviewing - A Checklist

I wrote this Checklist for my writers' group, Saskatchewan Romance Writers a couple of years ago. I thought, as I am on holiday, you might find it interesting. The checklist contains ideas for writers, but it also shows how I go about my Regency and other writing research. I'll be back live after the middle of August!

Til then,

Checklist for Research and Interviewing

- primary sources of information are always best to use, but they are not always available. Ensure that the secondary sources you use are reputable and reliable.

- a good rule of thumb: consult print materials first (to get you started), internet second (to refine and define), and then real, live people if possible.

- use non-traditional sources; travel agents, shop owners, relatives (!), your local health clinic's reading room or your lawyer's library. Think outside the box.

- don't forget interlibrary loan for hard to find materials; also library microfiche and microfilm holdings can be a valuable resource.

- provincial archives, land titles offices, city records and the library's local history room have a wealth of background material to use and dozens of stories waiting to be told.

- many authorities on many subjects are now accessible via email. Send them an inquiry. Most are pleased to help; the worst that can happen is nothing--no reply.

- your research will never be 'perfect'. You can only do your best and be prepared that some reader, somewhere, will find your mistakes--and tell you about them.

- don't hesitate to make use of an 'Author's Note' for any historical or setting detail that you may have changed from the true and real. It is valid occasionally to do so, but you should note your reasons.

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