8 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, more Tertiary
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
I'm writing about sources of historical research and how to make historical research. These apply to any novel or any subject you might wish to study. Here is a list:
1. Primary source documents or artifacts
2. Secondary source documents or artifacts
3. Tertiary source documents or artifacts
There is also another type of tertiary historical document. It is really quatriary (by my definition), that is fiction written during and about the period it describes. In this way Charles Dickens works can be used for some historical study. What type, you might ask? They are valuable to understand the culture and society of the times. They are not tertiary in that they do not claim to be historical in nature, but you can gain understanding about the culture and times of the novels.
Historical fiction does not really enter the picture--at best historical fiction is tertiary. At worst it is opinion. Opinion is another type of document that does not reach the degree of tertiary. If would fall in my "quatriary" degree.
So, if you wanted to begin a study of Victorian England to write your historical fiction novel, you would first get all the first person accounts that you could about the times. Diaries, autobiographies, other accounts of daily life are the primary source documents you must start with. After you have a grounding in these, you can move on to the secondary degree documents. You should read newspaper accounts and official biographies as well as secondary accounts of people's lives. Only then, if you don't have enough information should you look for history books on the Victorian era. All the history books in the world won't tell you anything you need to study about the Victorian era--they are all tertiary sources. However, you should read the literature from that period. First, it is a primary source artifact. Second, it has cultural information you might not get from a primary source document. Third, such writing will give you a feel for the times.
I'll explain more about historical study tomorrow.
I'll explain more about tension and first scene development. I'll talk about characteristics that make a bad first scene/chapter eventually.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.