It's the last few days before the start of National Novel Writing Month. I'm getting pretty excited; I've been doing my research for this year's novel, which is historical. Mostly, I've been reading a lot, which is the best way to do your research, I think. You could spend a lot of time looking things up, and consulting text books, and making index cards, and I'm sure that works well for some people, but for me, it's just sitting down with a good book and letting it wash over me.
Specifically, I've been reading the histories of Juliet Nicolson. She focuses on the early years of the 20th Century, in Britain, and both The Perfect Summer and The Great Silence are intimate, personal, wonderful slices of history. And Nicolson has great access to a lot of information; she's the granddaughter of author and gardener Vita Sackville-West and she still lives at the storied Sissinghurst. I'm also looking at some of the poetry of World War I, things written by soldiers in the trenches. Grim stuff, mainly, but sometimes quite lovely all the same. If all goes well, it will lead to a novel about a boy in the war and after, a very strange boy who has great and terrible adventures. Will it be publishable? Who can say, but the one I wrote last year is heading toward that path pretty cleanly.
As I've been looking over Nanowrimo some more, it's come to my attention that, while most people just do it for fun, and most of the books written are not meant to be read, there are a few rather notable exceptions. Sarah Gruen wrote one of the biggest selling books in the last few years as a draft during Nanowrimo. And then, to go one better, she did the same with her next book, too, which we've got on our Bestsellers right now. Two bestsellers in five years: not too bad, and both of them historical fiction. Maybe you can be next.
Whew. Finally made it around to that title.