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Writing Books/2 Q's on research


Thank you for your answer. It unquestionably erased a lot of avoidable anxiety.  I have one more question for you: Are there any good websites that you use and like to go to for history research on a specific country?  I have only embarked on my journey and love of history and research and I would like to learn to do it more efficiently.  How, for example, do I find out specifics, such as food, dress, social customs, class differences, village life, nobility in Romania/Hungary in the 18th century?  I have checked some with my local library, and I have found it lacking in these particular areas.  When you research a book, what resources do you use?
I appreciate your time.
The text above is a follow-up to ...

How do you do research for a historical novel and how much time does this normally take before the actual writing begins?  I have a story I would like to get out on paper, but I need more information on the countries (Romania/Hungary) and era (18th century) before I feel that I can represent it accurately.  While the story is more character driven than historically/action driven, historical detail is important to me.  I would like to get it correct and make it believable.  I think that if I get too bogged down in research for too long a time, I might loose my story. It has happened before with another book that got scraped half way through.  In my opinion, the cause was my lack of knowledge of efficient research.  For this book, I initially wanted the majority, if not all, of the research done before I wrote the first line, but my story is filling up every corner of my brain and needs to be written.  I have only begun to investigate the background necessary to write this with accurate detail. How do I learn how to research? Can you shed any light here?  I look forward to your thoughts.

The answer depends entirely on your personality.
Some people spend their whole lives researching a book (and then never get around to writing it).
Others dive in prematurely.
I suggest starting with what you know right now.  Then when the story stalls (and it will), research more until the inspiration returns. And keep doing that over and over again until you have finished a first draft.
Then research more (for a few months) before beginning a complete rewrite.
Good luck.
Richard Seltzer,

I primarily use the Web.
Do Google searches.
Go to Wikipedia.
For many subjects (but not nobility in Romania/Hungary in the 18th century)
the books I publish on CD and DVD are very useful.  You might want to check
my offerings at my Yahoo Store.
You can get as many as a thousand classic books on a single CD for a
ridiculously low price.  Or over 10,000 books on a 2-DVD set for just $99.
Richard Seltzer,

Writing Books

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Richard Seltzer


I prefer questions that directly relate to my current areas of interest: historical works and historical fiction dealing with Russia and Ethiopia around 1900.


Author of fiction:
The Name of Hero, historical novel (Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin)
The Lizard of Oz, fantasy (B&R Samizdat)
Also nonfiction:
The AltaVista Search Revolution (Osborne/McGraw-Hill)
Shop Online the Lazy Way (Macillan)

See my Web site
for complete novels and short stories by me, as well as resources for

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