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Historical Research for Writers and Enthusiasts – How to Do It and Why

An excellent overview of the kind of research I do for my books … including the recommendation of starting with children’s books, a trick I learned as a young journalist. They’re a great way to learn enough to know what questions to ask, as well as giving a first set of building blocks to your research.

I recently had the opportunity to make use of my master’s degree in history when I gave a talk to a local writers group on how to use history to spice up your fiction writing. The idea is that history is filled with stories–millions and millions of them. Down through the ages cultures have developed, flourished, and fallen, each of them expressing a path uniquely its own. There’s little need to do extensive world-building in your story when you realize the manifold variations of government systems, religions, wars, art forms, costumes, literature, philosophy and so on that have arisen in the past. But how do you find out about such things?

Research.

Does it sound boring? Fie up on you if it does! It’s not, once you get the hang of it, and then you will find yourself lost down endless tunnels of delight, rarely to emerge, like a gopher…

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AMARNA, episode 5
Divided We Fall