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!

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Anne Gilbert said…
I feel your pain as far as "historical research" goes. And you're a lot braver than I am, going to 10th century Germany! If I wanted to do that, I wouldn't even know where to start! I've had enough trouble trying to extract usable material for my own Great Medieval Science Fiction Masterpiece set in medieval England! There is not a great deal of usable documentation from this period, up till about the 12th century, anywhere in Europe. So you have to really "dig", and often make up things. Of course, I am doing something quite different from you, and not relying entirely on totally historical figures. But that's another story.
Anne G