Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Lucy

Good Monday morning everyone. As usual, I am late -- as in a day late and a dollar short -- for my Christmas shopping. I am doing mine today. Actually, I'm doing pretty well this year, most forays into Christmas shopping usually start on Christmas Eve, so I'm gaining this year.

Ran into a road block the size of Houston over the weekend on my WIP. I'm in the middle of my Regency, why I decided to write them I'll never know. I had some naggly details last week I had to do a timeline for and thought I fixed them. Guess what? Not in a bazillion years.

It seems my MC, Ellis, could not be where he was supposed to be because he had to sit in Parliament. This was crucial to the plot. Guess what? The Lords did not sit in Parliament the whole of 1816! Not once.

Soooo...what did I do, you may ask? Give Ellis somewhere else to be? Allow the plot to unfold without that information? Throw that scene out and write another?

Nooooo....I decided to change the whole timeline for the book. Actually all the books in the series. Because even though all the books can be read as stand-alone, they are also interconnected in small ways, hence the timeline. Prince George, as Regent or not, is crucial to all the plots. (Hence the name Regency. Don't you just love that word -- hence.)

So, instead of setting the books in and around 1816 as I originally wanted, I've changed them to 1811. Some of you may say, well, that's not so bad, which, it's not. But it is. Sort of. I thought I wouldn't have to do any more research into the Napoleonic Wars, (kind of hate old Boney at this point), but I'm finding I need to look into Admiral Nelson's action at Trafalgar. Ugh! I hate researching war, it's so ugly. But there it is.

Question -- Have any of you ever faced this task -- Finding out your research was way off and now you have to do something drastic? What did you do?

24 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm huge into research, but so far this hasn't happened to me. But I write contemporary so my issues haven't been close to yours. Bravo for realizing how important it is to get the details right. Some writers wouldn't have bothered which is their bad.

Christine Danek said...

This has not happened to me yet. Good thing you figured it out. Good luck. I'm sure it will turn out great.
I'm behind on my Christmas shopping, too.
Have a wonderful holiday!

Anne Gallagher said...

Stina -- Don't I know it! I hate reading badly researched books. ESPECIALLY the Regency era when everything is right there in the history books.

Christine -- Christmas shopping, the bane of my existance. Good luck with yours. Happy Happy!

Stacy McKitrick said...

I think this is why I write my own paranormal worlds. Sort of real (I use real locations), but technically not (since vampires don't reall exist - or do they?). I can make up whatever details I need (as long as I'm consistent, that is).

Good luck with your shopping. May you find everything on your list!

Rula Sinara said...

I love reading historicals, but I write contemporary so I haven't come up against a timeline change. I have tackled other changes that often lead to a domino effect of changes through the entire manuscript though. Historicals definitely take the cake on research! Good luck with your changes :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Fortunately I deal with theoretical physics, that which science thingks may be real and possible but have yet to prove in laboratory. I just need to stay on top of the latest and greatest so what I write isn't outdated.

Lynn said...

Whoa..that is a change. But great for you for getting the details right! I write contemporary too but have an idea for an epic that begins in the Yukon during the Gold Rush. I may be needing your research advise!

notesfromnadir said...

At least you found the problem before you wrote all your books! I think these things can happen [tho' we don't like them at the time] to enhance our writing skills. In your case, you'll be delving further into history. You might also find more details that will ultimately help all your book[s] in this series.

I'd found a small plothole in my current book, North of Sunset. I'd found it years ago after reading it for the 99th time. An editor had missed it, my beta readers had missed it. But I found it & this time I was able to fix it!

Matthew Rush said...

Wow. That is really interesting. I'm a big time stickler for getting stuff like this right, so I'm glad I don't write historical fiction!

Meredith said...

I try to avoid research if at all possible, but I do love that period in British history! I hope it's not too painful for you--I hate having to do big overhauls of my WiPs.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Oh my goodness, yes, I've run into research problems before. Crazy stuff! And it can be a huge pain to change. :(

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fortuantely since I write science fiction (and based in another galaxy) I've never had to do this. Sounds like you found a way around your problem though.

E. Elle said...

This has happened on more occasions than one. For the first draft, I left it as it was because I figure I'm allowed to rewrite history. Subsequent drafts, however, are delicately handled so as to reflect the accurate past (or present, in some cases) without ruining the story itself.

Disclaimers rock, too.

Melissa Gill said...

I had that happen when writing about whales. I had to change my timeline based on their migration. But yours sounds much more daunting. There was so much going on in the world in 1811-1812, it's such a huge transitional period for modern times. It would be so interesting to research and write about, but BIG. Good luck.

Anne R. Allen said...

It's so true that you have to get it right. Nothing turns me off a historical more than anachronisms and/or a lack of research.

It sounds as if you've solved your problem pretty well.

I had the same sort of issue writing a mystery, when I found out a law in the state where I set my story was different from my own state, so I had to change the setting.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

i just pretty much did what you did. In a few months/drafts it will all look like the orignal plan anyway

Jayne said...

I do love research, but know what you mean. In my book, the London smog is rather crucial to a scene and that meant re-jigging my time-line to make sure everything fitted around a real date. My next book is set way back in medieval times - part of me is giggling with glee at the research, part of me is thinking what muppet part of my brain decided on that period?! Although it is subject to change a little... depending on what I discover!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Yes! My ex-MC was a Hospice nurse. This was crucial in explaining her psyche and her inner torments. Then I researched Hospice by interviewing two nurses. Guess what? My MC couldn't be a Hospice nurse because she was too young and too inexperienced. She would have needed at least five years clinical, hospital training before being considered for Hospice, and she was only 23 years old. So, I had to decide if I'd change her age or change her profession. Either decision dictated a complete overhaul of the plot and character. In the end, I fired that MC anyhow. But I learned valuable lessons about writing a first draft while working with her.

Best of luck with your novel -- and with your Christmas shopping. I'm taking the kids out to do "theirs" today. Hopefully, it'll be the last trip into the stores this year!

Happy Holidays!!

Anne Gallagher said...

Staci -- Yeah, consistency is really key. Especially with 'other' things.

Rula -- That whole domino effect is rippling through 4 books so far. What have I done?

Stephen -- I've read some of your stuff and yeah, gadgets like on Star Trek, only better. If only...

Lynn -- LOVE the Gold Rush. Wish I had more time to read it. I'd love to help with research!

Lisa -- I think I'm very lucky that I did find it before anything went out on submission. Phew! Can you imagine...?

Anne Gallagher said...

Matthew -- That's the thing, if I weren't so anal, I wouldn't care, but the devil is in the details man, so I better get it right.

Meredith -- I had to stop writing. And still doing more research. I keep finding little things. However, it has given me more ideas, better ideas, for the revisions.

Michelle -- I remember you telling me about the butterflies. I love that book and can't wait to hold it in my hot little hands.

Alex -- I TOTALLY LOVED your 'world'! I could so see it, the battles, the other ships. It was really fantastic.

E. -- I'm trying to avoid disclaimers. I wonder then if I should classify it as 'historical' instead of Regency.

Melissa -- I LOVE the Regency period more than any other in history. I love comparing American Colonial history at the same time. It's fascinating. I guess I'm lucky, I love what I do.

Anne Gallagher said...

Anne -- It's true. I have read far too many books take a very liberal hand with history and it irks me. A lot. I HAVE to get it right.

Sarah -- You're right. Let's hope my seams don't show.

Jayne -- Oh, medieval is absolutely daunting to me. I could never tackle that. Regency is hard enough.

Nicole -- I remember that. I remember that. But it's good you recognized it early. I take Monster Baby on Wednesday for her presents to Yo-Yo and Puppa.

Liza said...

Your time and patience will pay off in the end. Hang in there!

MB Dabney said...

You do have to get the dates right or the timeline is seriously threatened. There are people like me out there with history degrees who will notice if you get that wrong.
It will be one less thing for critics to smack you around about.
So it's back to researching for you.
Good luck.

M

Susan Fields said...

I know it's very un-writerly to say, but I hate research. I'd probably come up with some other place he had to be to avoid the whole mess. Good luck to you!