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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Development - Historical Study, Tertiary

6 May 2012, Development - Historical Study, 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

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.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

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 of artifacts

I wrote about secondary source documents I'll get more in depth about them later. Today, I'll define tertiary documents.

By definition, a tertiary document is anything that is not primary or secondary.  Remember all those history books, yep, they're all tertiary sources.  In history, they basically have zero value in terms of being historical artifacts or in terms of historical degree.  So, all those historical fiction novels, and almost every history book that most people have read have nearly zero worth in terms of being a historical source.  That's not to say they have no value, but in terms of historical study, they have literally no value.

They can entertain.  They can help focus understanding (possibly), but as historical sources, they are worthless.  There is one important caveat to this fact--if we don't have any other historical source or document, historians will accept a document that is a tertiary source.  A few examples are Theodicles, Herotodus, and Pliny.  These ancient writers provided tertiary histories on persons, places, and events that we don' have any other source data on--we accept them with that understanding.  Josephus is an odd example of a historical source that is mostly tertiary, but that is accepted historically.  Although the documents of the NT have a higher degree, oddly Josephus is used for much of the historical authority from that period.

There is another type of tertiary degree document that is used as a historical source.  I'll write about that 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:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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