You know the old adage “write what you know”?
I’ve ignored that.
Instead, I’m delving into unknowns: prohibition, jazz music, 1930s farming… Things about which I know nothing. Which means I have to do a lot of research.
Sometimes, it makes me feel like I’ve gotten lost down a rabbit hole.
Like today. I found this innocent sentence in a 1928 farm wife’s diary entry for October 4: Arthur drove the car over to Seelyes after school and we got some hislops.
Well, after an hour of google searches, I finally found this:
Hyslop Edible Crab Apple
Malus domestica ‘Hyslop’
Hyslop Crab apple is an edible crab that can also be planted as an ornamental. The tree is vigorous and very hardy with a bluish bloom. It produces one inch fruit that are deep crimson red. The fruit is juicy upon ripening, but tends to become dry and mealy if stored. Ripens later in the season in October. Good for jelly, pickling, and cider blending.
Now that I’ve found the answer, is it something that I need to know? Not really.
There have been many days when I’ve spent my time chasing some little piece of era-appropriate information that will help ground me (and by extension, you, my reader) firmly in Rose’s world, only to decide I don’t need that particular bauble after all.
Needless to say that generates a lot of trivia…
So, rather than keep all this knowledge to myself (I’m not the selfish type), I thought there must be others out there… in cyberspace… who want to know how long it takes to plow a field using a horse, or what was the most popular radio program in 1929, or how Omaha might have been the next big Chicago when it comes to bootleg liquor.
You are out there, aren’t you? Let me know, by following my blog, or asking me a question, or just waving and saying hello.
‘Cause otherwise, I’m just talking to myself.
And that can be dangerous.
4 thoughts on “How Writing a Novel is related to Rabbits”
So wait a minute. Talking to myself is a bad thing?
Only if people catch you at it. Or it’s documented, like in a blog with no comments.
I love the research rabbit hole 🙂 Every time I have a story idea, I think, right, this time I will just stick to what I know. I can focus on the story, and maybe my first draft won’t be so SOCish. This year’s NaNo story for instance, the car wash murder mystery. It was just supposed to be a romance, with some suspense thrown in as the couple become suspects and unknowing witnesses to a murder and the murderer tries to silence them…
Suddenly, this morning, I realised the heroine might be the detective. Now what do I know about police procedure in Switzerland??
This is exactly my problem, Deniz! However… not all detectives are police, so perhaps your heroine is an independent gum-shoe type, therefore, no police procedure needed.