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★ Lost in Research-tion

I've been getting lost in research for "The Louverture Project" for a lot of the past couple of weeks. I think 'lost' is the appropriate word. Not having attempted anything like a historical study before, I'm feeling a bit swamped by the task. In the past I've written sketches, plays, that kind of thing, where it's all come out of my own imagination. Or I've written corporate events, where my job was to research and synthesize material of a relatively limited scope and create a unique work. Often I've had stock characters to write for, but this job is completely different. Here, I've got a vast amount of data, an endless array of characters, far-reaching implications, and the only constraint I have to work around is a historical, verifiable time line. How do I boil this down so that it makes sense? How do I know what to capture from my research and what to leave out?

I decided that I needed some help, and lo and behold, on my bookshelf were a couple of books I had looked at but never really seen before - How to Write and Sell Historical Fiction by Persia Woolley and The Biographer's Craft by Milton Lomask. Aside from the nice surprise of having them in my collection, the books were a comfort in that it seems like most of what I'm doing at this phase is just what the books suggest - research, organize, and write as inspiration strikes. With a few tweaks and some shifts of emphasis, I feel like I'll be back on track.

Here are a few quick hits from today's reading:

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