As I write this blog, I have almost made up my mind to go no further with my NaNo this year. It isn’t because I cannot write more words. Rather, it is because I have become aware of the need for a lot more research before I can pen my story with accuracy. This being my first foray into things historical, and armed with a file of information bursting at the seams on my ancestors and their peers, I was confident I could get 50,000 words. I still believe I can but whether they will form the basis of something worthy of editing is debateable. I have found, as I construct - unravelling and retelling - that I require a much greater knowledge of the era in which my tale is set. Add to the mix, American history, and I think you are getting a picture of my misperception and growing anxiety.
The Tale of Two Men is a story I have wanted to write for a long time and I intend continuing. However, to do it justice, I need more than schoolroom history, and the stories of bygone times. My research needs to be thorough because their story deserves as much truth and correctness as it is possible to attain. Whilst parts of their story are captured in American newspaper articles and documents of the time, said items differ and contradict. Much, I am certain, I will have to record in footnotes as being unconfirmed. Nevertheless, I want to explore and question further until I am satisfied I have as much information as possible, given the restraints of time and memory and handed-down snippets.
I am disappointed in myself for not recognizing the need for a great deal more general background than my bulging file suggested. I felt well prepared, having got myself organised before my UK visit. I had no idea my history was so sketchy. I always pride myself on my understanding of Welsh history particularly and thought I had read sufficient of the past of Virginia and West Virginia. So, having penned 32,833 words, do I stop and work at my research instead? Now that I see the number in black and white, I feel I will have wasted a lot of time by not continuing.
Help please, you NaNo stalwarts and others, what should I do? Shall I go for the 50,000 and research post NaNo, or instead, abandon now and work on the new data I know I am going to need?
Unable to make a decision….me?
Finally, good luck, Jo, Nicola and Angela. I am impressed by the word counts and obvious dedication. I should have spoken to you, Jo, as the historical novelist. You would have certainly set me straight on the amount of research needed for such a venture.