Posted by: oneyearbook | March 25, 2009

Hysterical fiction

At least I don't have to learn about armour

At least I don't have to learn about armour

Whoops, I mean ‘historical fiction’ … my first research day is scheduled for Friday at the library downtown. There are better sources out there, for me – the actual museum that was the inspiration for the book, for one; libraries near there will be more likely to have archives of local newspapers and so on. Those visits require a ferry ride (not to mention that the museum doesn’t open for the season until May) and will have to wait.

Is it an advantage that I am writing about an era that’s still close enough to be in the realm of living memory? I’m not sure. For someone writing about, say, Vikings,  knowledge of their lifestyles is somewhat limited, somewhat conjecture; there may not be a source that gives a good sense of fine, daily detail. But that writer could make up a lot and probably get away with it. We know how people spoke in 1924; we know how they dressed; we have photos of their hairstyles and their makeup and their vehicles.

Anyone out there who is knowledgeable about life in rural Burnaby in the 1920s is welcome to chime in with reading suggestions. Experts on 1985 also welcome. I was originally going to go with 1986 but I wanted to avoid the obligatory visit to Expo.


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