Research

Dear Readers:

Last on my list of essential elements for writing a good story is a descriptive setting. It’s the location, the era, the ether, if you will, of where events take place.  The unique place, time, and mood of my sojourners during the Great Depression would hopefully bring my story to life and make the conflicts seem real. So how should I go about describing an America that happened before I was born?  In real estate the answer is location, location, location. In my writing it was research, research, research. The most obvious resource was the actual person, my mother-in-law, who had experienced this adventure. Yes, she and her best friend, were living, breathing people. But the other characters were figments. I saw them as a great opportunity to describe a population on the move, hoping to exchange bankruptcy, poverty, and unhappiness for change, enrichment, and excitement.  I read background material on the internet, from my local library, and purchased from bookstores. Each character encountered during the journey had the potential to flesh out a characteritic inherent to the 1930’s. And the setting I placed them in went a long way in describing the milleau they sruvived in. I just had to remember to state the setting in each chapter – something my faithful critique members reminded me about when my characters needed grounding. The plot thickens.


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