Friday, October 7, 2011


In previous posts I've mentioned that I am working on a new WIP and part of it will take place in the 1920's. 1925 to be specific. PBS just had a three night special on Prohibition and it could not have been better timing for me. If you didn't get a chance to watch it I know PBS has been rerunning it and I would highly recommend it. The period has always interested me (I'm a huge history buff) and I finally decided that I would try and write a story set in that era. I have done research on the internet which to my surprise hasn't really given me what I have been looking for. Go figure. I've bought several non-fiction books about the era, one of which is, Flapper A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, And the Women Who Made America Modern by Joshua Zeitz, that review will be coming soon. The more research I do the more prepared I feel to finally be able to sit down and start writing.

But. I think you've come to realize with me there is always a but. I have currently on my bookshelf, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen and Vixen by Jillian Larkin and I want to read them. I do. And I'm really curious to see how they handled the era and if their research is evident on the pages. But I always hear/read writers say how they try to avoid reading books similar to theirs because they don't want to be influenced in anyway. Aren't you supposed to read books similar to yours to see what is selling? Such a stupid thing but it really got me thinking.

I'm curious what your research methods are. Do you stick to the non-fiction books? Or do you also take a look at fiction? Do you read other books that are similar to yours? Or are you afraid like other writers that it may influence your own work?


  1. Two of my three 'completed' manuscripts needed no research to speak of. Essentially the research was what I had experienced in my life, saw on TV, heard from friends, etc.

    However for one of my manuscripts I needed to know more about the FBI and the city of Chicago. For that I used the internet, even called a few people who were very helpful.

    Historic is more difficult I think though... you can't really call too many people from the 1920s... though you might be able to talk to people who study it...

    I guess I haven't worried about what I read affecting/influencing what I write. Maybe I should? But either way I think we all have our unique voice, one that's not easily swayed by others, and I think in the end reading a few pieces in a genre won't hurt.

  2. I agree. We all have our own unique voices and I think reading other peoples work won't hurt and can actually help. I've just read so much about writers thinking the exact opposite and it really got me thinking. I guess in the end you have to do what works best for you.

    Thanks for your input :)