I have been ridiculously busy with study for my exam (I'll be done soon!!), but I thought I would pop in to say that research can be one of the most fun and enjoyable things you can do as a historical fiction writer. For example: I watched the movie El Cid recently (yes, the epic, the wonderful, amazing, one of a kind film that Hollywood just doesn't seem to make anymore) and as always it was excellent and remains one of my favourite films of all time. But... (as usual) Hollywood gets it wrong. And I know that. But then, I read somewhere on someone's novel blurb something that totally messed with the history in my head. I thought, 'That's not right.' So... I set off on a long path of fascinating research and procrastination from my studies... 😄
In short, I just wanted to find all the actual historical facts of what hapenned in the story of the great El Cid Campeador. And, well, I just got sucked in. The difficulty with famous historical figures like that is that there can be a LOT of legend and folklore that gets mixed in with the history and the challenge can be to try and separate the two and find out what is fact and what is fiction. Anyway, I ended up researching for like two full days and learned so much more than I was expecting. It read like the plot of a novel! You just can't beat history - it's the best. Fiction comes out of it.
So... the verdict? El Cid the movie is awesome, El Cid the real story is even better! And, love your research. It will inspire you and you will learn so much along the way. Who knows? You may be researching something really small and seemingly insignificant but something that you need for your novel and suddenly: BOOM! you get sucked in and hooked and the research opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities. In the end, we are all storytellers, not historians. But the fact that there is a wealth of stories already there to delve into tickles my fancy. 😄
That's all from me for today! I'd better get back to reading Shakespeare's Othello.