Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

December Book

The December Book: Details, Details….

December 14, 2010 by Richard Wright in December Book, Journal, Writing

(Picture courtesy of my wife, as I’m running out of decent Edinburgh shots)

While on the one hand, it’s important to know when to stop researching, I’ve also discovered that you can never do enough research.  It’s rather an annoying paradox.  Yesterday was an exercise in frustration, as I lost a full two and a half hours trying to find out how a middle class Edinburgh family in the mid 1820s would light their home.  I still don’t know (feel free to tell me, if you happen to).  I did manage to get a feel for how many servants they might employ, and who would therefore be the most likely candidate to answer a door in the middle of the night, but that too was more time lost.

So, new policy for research details.  Ignore them.  Write through them.  Mark them up, and come back later.  At the moment, getting words onto the page is far more important than getting incidental details about light sources right.  It won’t work for all things, of course (knowing who answers the door also means knowing whether a new character is required, which changes the dynamic of the scene, which is too big to leave for a ‘quick fix’ later on), but I can hope it speeds things up in most areas.

While I’m getting down to that, here’s a final reminder to throw Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow into your Amazon shopping cart.  If you do so now, at least in the US and UK (,, etc), there’s every chance it will be with you for Christmas.  It has a snowy scene on the cover, which makes it festive, probably.

You can also do me a favour, next time you’re on Amazon or Goodreads.  If you’ve already grabbed Hiram and read it, stick a quick customer review online.  The book listings always look terribly lonely, without them.

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  1. JackieDecember 14, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Good reminder for writing reviews of your stuff on Amazon. I *always* look at reviews before buying a book.

    Wow. 1820s, eh? Can’t wait to read THAT one! I love historical fiction. I’m guessing it also depends on what country you were in… In America, one would almost definitely have used oil lanterns, but I can’t say for sure, of course. Interesting research!

    But yeah, for now, just keep putting words on the page. Sometimes, even an editor will handle those details for you.

  2. Richard WrightDecember 14, 2010 at 9:16 amAuthor

    I THINK it would be separate lanterns too – but gas lighting had just been invented and introduced to various parts of the world, and I can’t find anything to tell me whether it was supplied to homes, or just streets (and this particular family have a relatively new house, so could have been on the forefront of that). Maddening!

  3. JackieDecember 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

    You might want to write to an actual historian who specializes in that era. “Gas lighting” sounds horribly dangerous, doesn’t it? LOL

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