1. Norfolk nChance

    Norfolk nChance Banned

    Oct 27, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Hong Kong

    Any guides to Research with a fictional story in mind?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Norfolk nChance, Jan 11, 2019.

    Are there any methods on collecting and filing data research for a story?

    I’ve a fictional story idea that revolves around an Age of sail battle in the Napoleonic wars set within the Caribbean. The key multiplier by the British is to tip the French slave areas into revolt causing a domino effect. This kills the income to Paris and the Emperors War machine.

    Are there any methods to researching something like this around? Would this lead then onto World building, settings, Plot to the characters themselves?

  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

    Jan 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Manchester UK
    I think the first thing to establish is how authentic you want it to be. Do you want casual acceptance from fast consuming page turning people or are you wanting approval from the literary types with a bent for history? There's a book, Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, set round about 1800, the premise is a Dutchman stranded on Dejima who has doings with the (island) locals, some immortals, and the English Navy. < The latter had the author dig deep for at least a couple of years and get help from many a source in collating all the detail he could of the ships, the crew and the seafaring toils of that time. On that score I thought it a masterpiece, the immortals bit... we'll hmmm.

    Regarding method...following outlining on a big sheet of A3 (timelines + mind mappy stuff) I turn to fast drafting, pen + paper, and leave [ placeholders ] where I need detail—the story's texture. This writing about 'what I don't know' by the way is to consume stories of a similar ilk, a visit to the wikis and scholarly articles on google for some clipboard espionage, then being cheeky and contacting the dons and the v. experienced types to sound out intentions. Many are, surprisingly, more than willing to help and usually flattered they're having a hand in adding some fidelity to their subject field in story form. This all comes back and ends up pasted in 'evernote' where I've then got easy access (two screens) to enable me to transform it to my writing style. It's hard work but there's a sense of pride that what I produce would stand up to scrutiny—well the facts at least.
    Norfolk nChance likes this.
  3. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

    Oct 28, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Hi @Norfolk nChance - not sure that I can help you very much - in the UK the admiralty holds detailed records of ships and shipping; I'm afraid I have no idea how to access it but I shall take the liberty of following your thread to see what comes up! You might start by looking around the website of the Greenwich museum here.

    reason: my "great, great, great uncle by marriage" was the captain of whaling ship Sir Andrew Hammond in the early c19th (I should say nominative g-g-g-u-b-m as he was, in fact, Captain Hammer...) and amongst the artefacts that we hold are his telescope, a few bits of scrimshaw carved by his crew, an almanac, and the hand-written log of one of his voyages which is crammed full of human drama which I would love to work up into historical fiction if I had half the skill )c:

    I will have to recover it from my brother, but I can help you with anything from the almanac if it's of any use, including Captain Cook's method of keeping your ship afloat when you hit a rock..!
    Norfolk nChance likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice