Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quedlinburg


Those of you who know me well, know that I've been researching the Ottonian Empire since 2002. The roots of the Ottonian Empire are in Germany - Quedlinburg, Magdeburg, Erfurt, and many others. I've collected numerous books, texts, and photos. The only thing missing is that I have never been there - yet.

Quedlinburg was the main residence of Heinrich and his wife Matilde, the characters in my novel Heinrich the Fowler. My current work in progress, A Scarlet Mantle, is strictly about Matilde in first person narrative.

I found this video on YouTube and although many of the structures that existed in the 10th century may not be there, much has been preserved. Quedlinburg is a Unesco World Site. This video helps give me a feel for the area and the times.

One day, I hope to visit and place a flower on the grave of my heroine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Struggles with Historical Research


My current work in progress, A Scarlet Mantle, is causing me grief at every turn. I equate it to those sleepless nights when we toss and turn in bed unable to find a comfortable position.

First it was changing the manuscript back and forth between first person and third person narrative. Gladly I settled on first person and that seemed to help.

When I finally thought I had the first seven chapters polished, I discovered that I have to re-write them all. For years I've been searching for the birth and death dates for a particular character. It always eluded me. This didn't surprise me because she was a woman and not of any great significant importance except for giving birth to my hero.

Last night, while re-reading some research textbooks I collected, I accidentally stumbled upon it. I learned that she died 6 years before my story begins. The information was in a tiny footnote in the minutest print at the bottom of a page. Now I've got to go back and take her out of several scenes and write all those chapters.

Writing a true historical in 10th century Germany is very challenging. Every text book differs pertaining to names and dates. They even mix up characters names and occurrences. It's been hard sorting the pepper from the fly poop. And instead of giving up and moving on to another book, it only makes me want to dig in all the more and get it done!