Anyone who writes historical romances knows how much research can go into developing and creating a story. Since I'm a voracious nonfiction history reader, this is one of my favorite parts of the process, but it can be tough. History in broad strokes is easy to discover. It’s the small details of daily life that can be elusive. Sometimes I can find the details, other times I have to take some artistic license based on my knowledge of the period. And then there are times when, despite research and careful fact checking, I still manage to get it wrong
Once during revisions, when I was double checking my facts, I discovered that I had made not one, but many mistakes. I'd read a sentence, and then another one, and something about them didn’t seem right. Off to the internet or a research book I went, only to discover my facts were incorrect. Afterwards, I asked myself, “How did I miss this during the umpteenth times I read this story?” or “I know I looked this up before. How did I get it so wrong?”
David McCullough, I know I’m not alone. When asked about his research methods, he admitted that he continues researching right through the copy editing process. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard this. If a noted historian of his stature can keep researching until the last minute, then so can I and so can you. After all, in the end it doesn’t matter when you get it right, as long as you do.
Don't allow fear of doing research or getting the research wrong stop you from writing your book. Dive in, write, research and keep going. It is the only way to succeed!
If you like books and research then you will love mine because I wrote them while I was doing research.
For more tips on research, check out these posts here, here and here.