While working on my novel last night, I had to stop for a moment and do a bit of research. Luckily, I have primary sources (my novel takes place at a POW camp, the same one I wrote about for my MA thesis) and I can just look in my files for what I need. It's amazing what tiny details I need and how overwhelming it can be just to find those details.
One detail in particular...I had my hero standing at his window, looking out at the guard tower spotlights searching the POW camp. But when I read the guard regulations manual, I found that the only time they had the spotlights searching the camp was when they saw something suspicious. Otherwise, the fence lights kept the place well-lit.
While it was a minor detail and no one probably would have cared if I kept it the way it was, it still unnerved me a bit. I want to be as accurate as possible, but I know there are certain things I'm going to have to work around. Finding out the minute details of a prisoner's life are incredibly difficult. Although I am working with a diary, he didn't record certain details, like what the barracks looked like inside or what the camp looked like in general. Although I have pictures, I don't have very detailed ones.
But on the other hand, his diary has been of great use to me in both my thesis and this novel. I have found out so much about him that I've been able to use in my main character. It's exciting to write.
I had a moment of doubt last night when I thought, will this find a market? But then I shoved the thought away. It's a good story. And even if it doesn't find a market, I don't care. I want to write it. So I will. :-)
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