1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Historical romance research sites?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by peachalulu, Mar 23, 2013.

    Does anyone know of any good historical romance research sites?

    I'm thinking of writing a 1800 prairie spoof romance. I've read a lot
    of romance books but I'm trying to find some sites that
    specialize in info to help me flesh out my descriptions. Just wondered
    if anyone has a favorite or has come across something like this.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the best resource is to just study how the most successful authors of that genre do it...
     
  3. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Spartacus School Net is good for all historical stuff. It's a British site, but it does American history too. Don't know how good it would be to you, but it's well worth a look.

    Also the Historical Novel Society, deals with all types of historical novels.
     
  4. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    That isn't always going to help with historical accuracy though and that's just as important in a romance as it is in any other genre.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for historical accuracy, of course one must do the research for that particular place/time... but the op was wanting advice on how to flesh out her descriptions... and that's what my advice addressed...
     
  6. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    How do you 'flesh out' descriptions if you aren't familiar with the period in time you're writing about. Dress, hair style, dining habits, conversation styles - don't they also have to be accurate.
    Most readers of historical fiction are well aware of the time period they read about. They like accuracy.

    Adequate research also gives the writer a background with which to work. If you understand the time, then you can write with authority. Not doing that research leaves you pretty much guessing and that comes over in the writing.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks, Evelon I'll check out the link.
    Yes, I was going more for period accuracy in the descriptions. Wanting to know how people
    talk back then, their social customs etc. I think I'll also google social customs. I'm just shocked
    the romance writers society haven't built a site like this ( or maybe I'm missing it ) - it would invaluable for them.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by '1800 prairie romance' - but the historical fiction I write is set in the 1870s-80s in Texas, Kansas and Montana. I think these two books might be just what you need. They're both published by Writer's Digest Books.

    1) Everyday Life in the Wild West from 1840-1900, by Candy Moulton

    2) The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's : for writers of historical fiction, westerns, romance, action/adventure, thrillers and mysteries - by Marc McCutcheon

    I'm pretty much steeped in the history of that period (in fact, I've got two complete bookcases full of research material, yikes!), but I did find these two books very entertaining and useful. They're also inexpensive, or at least they were when I bought them, many moons ago. I'm sure if you're writing a 'spoof,' they'll probably be just the ticket. Certainly you'll have a better idea of the period once you've had a go.

    Just checked the Amazon.com site. Both books are available right now, each for under $10, if you're willing to buy a used copy. (Around $30-40 each, if you insist on new.) Since it's something you will use, I wouldn't hesitate to go for a used copy. Both seem to be out of print at the moment, so probably better snap these copies up while you can.
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks Jannert! - I put down 1800 as more a pinpoint - not the exact date. I'm not sure how near I want to get to the new century.
    Or which state I want my story even to take place in. I'm thinking Minnesota but I'm not sure.

    Those two books sound good. I've got quite a few Writer's Digest how-to-write books they're practical and easy to understand.
    I'll keep an eye out for them!
     

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