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More dangerous research!
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…but luckily less dangerous than the last site. Today I found a site selling antique Regency-era furniture, and I spent a long time happily checking out all the pictures. Still dangerous - if nothing else, I could spend hours just ogling this kind of thing instead of writing, and if I had the kind of money it takes to buy beautiful antique furniture, I certainly would - but at least it’s less tempting in the maybe-if-I-sell-every-single-possession-I-own-I-could-someday-afford-that-Georgian-necklace kind of way! (Antique jewelry is my most difficult-to-withstand temptation.)

I loved surfing around the different pieces of furniture and getting to see pictures of the kinds of things Kat would be sitting in/using every day. It gives me a much more grounded sense of the novel, and it particularly helps since I have a really bad visual memory - I have a pretty easy time remembering most of what I read, but what I see, when walking around Regency museums, etc., is a totally different matter, and the zillions of notes I scribble to myself are only a partial solution. This is one reason why, when I’m writing a historical novel or story, I keep postcards from the Museum of Historical Costume and other historical museums of the right time period spread out around me as I write. And looking at the different pieces of furniture is great for getting setting/scene ideas, too - I looooved the little decanter trolley, and I could just imagine it being batted up and down a table as banter is batted back and forth. (Sadly, not it wouldn’t be appropriate for Kat, but someday…) And the games tables gave me all sorts of other fun dialogue/action mix ideas.

It also brings up a really big question for writing historicals: how much detail do you give? And what terminology do you use? I found this site just before writing the last scene of Chapter Ten of Kat by Starlight, which is set in the library of an elegant townhouse in Bath. I’d known her dad would be sitting in an armchair, and on the site, I found the exact armchair I wanted him to be sitting in. Then, as I wrote the scene, I had to figure out the details: when referring to the chair, would Kat call it a bergere armchair? a winged armchair? or--? I eventually decided she would just call it a comfortable-looking armchair - because that’s how she would think of it. (Older or differently-focused characters might have used either of those first terms for it; Kat wouldn’t care enough to notice in the first place.) But I did have her father set down his book on top of one of the brass leopard’s heads at the ends of the chair’s arms - a detail I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, without having seen a real chair from the period.

I’m never certain that I’m guessing right with what to include and what not to include in terms of historical detail. But it’s incredibly fun to play around with it anyway. Especially if I can keep myself from buying any of the furniture on the way...

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