In a guest post on the Writer Unboxed blog, Alma Katsu shares what she learned after tackling complicated historical research for her horror novel, The Hunger, a reimagining of the story of the Donner Party. Her advice:
- Use no more than two primary references. In the case of the Donner Party, Katsu could have spent years combing through the dozens of books about the doomed settlers. Instead, she picked two of the best reviewed, and used other to spot research specific details as she wrote.
- Look for quirky details that you can use for a character or plot point.
- Establish some guidelines for determining the accuracy of your facts. Katsu notes that reputable sources are easy to identify, but individual researchers or blogs can trick you. In some cases, interesting facts will appear in multiple sources and can be trusted. Other times, however, you’ll have to go with your gut. Before you start, set some rules for how you’ll decide if an historical event probably happened, was possible but unproven, or unlikely.
- Use a computer for your notes. Easy to search, harder to lose (assuming you back up your work regularly.)
Read the full post here
Photo by Dmitrij Paskevic on Unsplash