You know who has weird Internet search histories?
Okay, everyone. But I do think writers kick it up a notch. The other day, I googled information on what recent bruising would look like on a corpse. I don’t have particularly macabre interests, but I needed to know for my current project. I was describing a head that had been stabbed onto a pike and was being paraded around during the French Revolution, and the poor dead character had sustained a black eye a couple of hours earlier, which was one of the identifying marks for the main character to recognise him.
At other times in my research, I have searched for information on various other strange things, like when everyone’s favourite swear word that starts with F (I don’t know who reads this blog, exactly, but my mom does, so we shall leave it at that) came into circulation, what undergarments were like through history, and what types of birth control people used through history. Not to mention how to use a powder musket, how long it would take someone to bleed out from wounds (sword-inflicted, in my case), what Friesian horses would have been called in medieval times, if medieval ladies ever rode astride, when fireworks were invented, what salt feels like in a wound, and when potatoes were introduced to North America.
Stuff like this is why I’m a writer, I think. Every day brings something completely different, even though to an outsider it looks like you’re just sitting at your computer or staring off into introspective space. Every day there are new ideas, new facts to consider, new plot points and details to weave together. It’s my passion, and I can’t imagine being so invested in anything else. I also love writing about why people do things. It’s one of my favourite things about studying history. I like putting the pieces together and imagining myself into the shoes of the person, connecting their feelings with their recorded actions or historical events.
Slightly off topic, but don’t forget – if you are working on a query letter, head over to Carrie Pestritto’s blog and enter her monthly query critique contest. She gives excellent advice, and I should know, since she’s my agent.
Happy Holidays! I’m not sure if I will post again before Christmas (or Yule, as I have lately taken to calling it, mostly for the pun value). ‘Yule’ be merry and full of chocolate, I’m sure! (Okay, the puns are probably annoying. My apologies to my husband for having to listen to so many of them).