I bought a new camera because I wanted one that could take longer distance shots. My little Canon is great for close ups so now I can take both. The new one is a lot more complicated but I will figure it out.
Today, my guest is Award Winning Author Donna M. McDine. I also call her my Cyber Daughter. Donna has written an interesting post about research. Enjoy.
Which Requires More Research, Historical Fiction or Fiction?
From a youngster I’ve always enjoyed reading about history, especially Abraham Lincoln. And looking back to my first published children’s book, it came as no surprise to my parents that I gravitated toward the Underground Railroad. I have always been fascinated by history, even to this day when I read the Daily News recap of New York City history I jot down notes of points that interest me. Hey, you never know what can be developed into a historical fiction manuscript.
Now that I have four children’s book published, two historical fiction (The Golden Pathway and Powder Monkey) and two fiction (Hockey Agony and A Sandy Grave) an often asked question is… Which requires more research, historical fiction or fiction? I absolutely love this question. The research aspect may not be equal for the two, but both do require research.
The Golden Pathway, I immersed myself with everything about the Underground Railroad and slavery. From the Underground Code words, to the treatment of slaves and not everyone believed in slavery. As I was researching this in-depth topic I wrote notes as to how I envisioned the fictional characters story to be betrayed, from their names, surroundings, and mannerisms to eventually pulling together for the sake of freedom.
Powder Monkey is based on the press gangs of the 1800’s Royal Navy. My research on this topic astounded me from the onset since I never knew about this part of world history. Boys’ as young as twelve were kidnapped from their families and forced to work on ships, often times never reuniting with their families. Truly a heart wrenching time period. Creating characters that are true to the time period of history can be tricky and it helps my writing process to search images from that particular time period.
Even though a fiction story is made up from the imagination, research is necessary to stay true to the subject matter.
Hockey Agony is based around peer pressure, bullying, and hockey. For the hockey aspect, I needed to conduct research of rules of the game, what a zamboni is, arena setup, etc. Once I created the story and character outlines it was then time to research all things hockey to stay authentic to the game.
A Sandy Grave, I conducted research for marine biology and the Endangered Species Act and the Mammal Protection Act to make sure I had the rules and regulations down pat. Then blending in everything I enjoy about the beach, intertwined an unusual beach adventure.
The difficult part for me in researching and writing historical fiction is to stop the research and get down to the nitty-gritty of writing the first draft. In writing fiction, once I have a story and character outline created (yes, I interview my characters with specific questions to see how they would react in certain circumstances) I begin my first draft. This process brings my characters to life for me and hopefully for the reader.
If you are a writer I’d enjoyed hearing about your experience as a writer. And if you are an avid reader, what do you enjoy reading more, historical fiction or fiction?
Bev, thanks for hosting me today. I look forward to interacting with visitors.
Bio: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. With four early reader children’s picture books to her credit, A Sandy Grave (January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) and a fifth book in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI. Visit Donna at www.donnamcdine.com or www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com