Sorry about the sporadic blogging. The heat here has been unbelievable, and we’ve now had a record number of 90 degree + days. Last summer, we were all talking about how mild it was, but this summer appears to be trying to make up for it. It has me downright lethargic.
Anyway, I find myself researching some oddball things while I’m writing, and I thought it would be fun to blog about what I’ve researched lately.
I’ve set my story in a post-Renaissance era, in a “French-speaking country that’s not France.” For a fairy tale retelling (Cinderella this time) I’ve been researching a surprising number of masculine things:
French Ship Names. My hero is a 1700’s era entrepreneur, and in that era instead of buying tech stocks, you bought shares of a ship. So what to call my ship? I researched French ship names, and I discovered that the French loved to name their ships after either saints or women. So I called my ship le Belle Jeanne.
Early Organized Sports. Hunting and shooting were the big sports for that era, but what did teenage boys do while at school? It didn’t seem practical to put a gun in their hands and pack them off to the woods. So I researched football, rugby and cricket (I knew a bit about the origins of baseball from high school history). And it appears that the term “football” is safe to use going back at least a few centuries.
Vehicles. What kind of vehicle would a young man like to drive in the 1700? I remembered from my Jane Austen that they liked two seat open carriages. So my young man drives a landau.
French Endearments. I almost got sucked into the hazards of the French language here, and I still want to run my manuscript by someone who speaks French to make sure I haven’t done anything stupid. I was looking for an endearment and I discovered that the wording changes depending on whether you are talking to a man (mon chéri),or to a woman (ma chérie). Yikes!
Some things that are still flagged as needing research: the likely contents of a ship coming back from the new world (so far I’m going with silver, the knowledge of which I piked up from playing Pirates! years ago) the likely contents of a vegetable garden (not going to spend too much time on that one), and how usury worked–the common terms of a loan and stuff like that.
I love research and the Internet does make it fun. But sill, I have fond memories of libraries, encyclopedias and microfiche viewers, so it really is the research that I enjoy, and not just the Internet. Do you enjoy research, and if so, what is your favorite research memory? I’ll share mine in the comments.