research

To Scrivener or not to Scrivener?

That is the question. Sure, we are used to Microsoft Word, but is it really all that great? Let’s take organization. If you halfway know what you’re doing you can create a style with chapter headings. Hell, you might even go down the rabbit hole of Microsoft formatting and set your margins, tabs and all

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Excerpt from Fifty Cent Soul

It is not my usual practice to share work in progress, but I wanted to post this to illustrate how research will often do far more than create believable filler for a story. My character, Hawser, finds himself back in his hometown of Tucson. He is back at the boarding house where he spent his

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Pop Goes the Research

I remember a Michael Ondaatje reading where he was asked about his research (for Anil’s Ghost). He said he liked  to immerse himself in a place or a time period and read all the papers and books from that era. Patrick O’Brian told of  spending years at the Admiralty reading the  logs and Gazette articles about

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Devil in the details

I have always been a stickler for period accuracy. I almost dismissed The Godfather  because there was somebody wearing 1970s glasses  in the party scene. It gets ridiculous. When Roger Sterling did his blackface song and dance on Mad Men, I was furious that they showed the drummer playing an 80s K Zildjian cymbal (though in later

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POW camps were nothing to laugh at.

  Like many other young American kids, I grew up watching Hogan’s Heroes. It was about WWII, featured a charismatic protagonist in a great costume (Hogan made the A-4 jacket cool long before Indiana Jones made his debut) and was pretty funny. We used to play POW when I was a kid. The game mostly consisted of

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Researching WWII

Ken Burns famously remarked that his principal motivation for making The War was reading somewhere that a thousand veterans of WWII a day were dying. I believe this was around 2001 or so–the rate has fallen off sharply because there just aren’t that many of them left. If you were 18 on June 6th, 1944, that

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