Friday, June 06, 2014
Be ye a landlubber or a sea salt?
This latest manuscript I've been writing has taken me down more avenues than any other, I think. At least the Isabella books are pretty much the Native American culture in the story and the setting that I had to do the most research, and of course the illegal activities. They seemed less daunting than the things I've come up against with Staking Claim.
Other historical books I've written required research into the time period, the setting, and sometimes occupations. Half of Staking Claim is set on a Clipper ship. I've had to research the ins and outs of a 19th century Clipper Ship. The food served, the accommodations, the time it takes from point A to point B, and some of the jargon. Then they arrive in New York City. I had to do some research about that city at the time of my story and discover which were the best train routes West and which they could take when trying to escape someone after them. Then I had to get them from New York to Chicago. After Chicago I had to get them on to Oregon.
After dissecting the travel I had to then discover how to make my Scots-Irish American who is a Baronet of an English estate follow the traits I gave him as a twelve-year-old in a previous book. He wasn't as hard to discover what buttons to push to make him show emotion. The villain, I had to read up on British titles and decide his family, his upbringing, and his nastiness.
The heroine has been a whole different problem. She's someone who made it out of the slums to work as a maid in the villain's family's townhouse. Even though she loathes the villain she is working for him to save her brother. she can't shed her lower class way of talking and doesn't really fool anyone when she portrays the daughter of a baron. Learning the correct way for her to talk and not make the reader's eyes cross has been a fun research project, but is now making the revision on the story take longer than I'd planned. The good thing is she will definitely have her own voice in the story.
How do you feel about real sounding dialog? Love it? Hate it? Depends?