I’m writing an 18th-century romp at the moment, and I’m finding that the only thing more fun than writing sex-in-a-chemise is researching chemises (and other things). Granted, research has a way of sucking up my time, but it’s all for a purpose, right? The dishes can wait: I must know about morganatic marriages and antique iron strongboxes right now.
The funnest part so far has been in taste-testing drinks of the day: port, claret, Madeira, sherry. I thought about trying to get my hands on some laudanum, just to experience the loopiness for myself, but el hubby convinced me that I might get into some legal trouble. Boo.
At any rate, fun as it might be, there is also a danger in researching, and in writing in general: what if I get it wrong? I’ve seen so many decent books heckled over nitpicks: chocolate and tomatoes in pre-Colombian Europe, Regency ladies wearing knickers, inaccurate modern police procedure, incorrect forms of address for titled folks. Can a book recover from such a flaw? Can a writer move past a humiliation like having her red-shirt tertiary character bleed out from a paper cut or allowing her hero to hack an alien computer with a wholly inconceiveable operating system based on bubbles? *wibble*
Personally, as a reader, some of my favorite authors play a little fast and loose with the facts, and I don’t mind one bit. It’s their stories, their characters, that draw me in, and I’m willing to forgive them a lot of research oopsing. As a writer, though, I guess I’m not comfortable enough with my own skills yet to cut myself the same slack.
And the tension – as well as the pile of reference books – mounts. Think I need an absinthe and a bubble bath to get my muse back on track. Only, absinthe is 19th c. Noooo! Very well, will apply head to desk instead.
(Okay, this post was only partially an excuse to ogle Johnny Depp in the bath.)
Vivien Jackson writes erotica and erotica romance. This nibble was cross-posted to her Personal Blog. Her erotic stories are available on Paper Bag Pres.