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My WIP takes place in Yemen (mostly), and centers around the frankincense trade, so... I've been perusing "Incense Traders" and found one that sells high-quality frankincense. And it's on it's way...

I have smelled it before, because when we lived in Bahrain, my parents bought some frankincense and myrrh to send to grandparents for Christmas (along with a golden box). But it's been so long, and I'm not sure where their frankincense came from (source does matter, apparently), so I had to get my own. As soon as it gets here, I'm going to experiment and then set up my own scent-sational writing space.  :ban (Pretend that's resin-scented ban.)

BTW--all of this research has gotten my gears whirring. It's definitely the best way to mold and carve your plot. Not to mention the excitement you feel and the bonus info you gather (like, did you know scientists are discovering that frankincense may help those with leukemia?).
#1 - August 21, 2008, 03:09 PM
THE FIRE WISH, Random House Children's, 2014
THE BLIND WISH, Random House Children's, 2015
www.amberlough.com

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I'll second the fun of research. Pictures really sparked my imagination as I was writing the first draft of a historical fantasy--but I never thought of scents. What a great idea, Amberlough! And can you find any Yemeni music from the right time period to listen to?
#2 - August 21, 2008, 03:38 PM

I'm with you, Amber!  Research is so cool!  This spring I spent some time in a library sifting through original letters from the 1840s and 50s.  I love getting lost in the time.  I even went through the city directory from 1854 and found my subject.  So very cool!   :dancer
#3 - August 21, 2008, 06:07 PM
"If you don't get it right the first time, just get it written." ~J. Thurber
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Yes...I justify adding to my collection of early 19th century fashion prints and magazines as research...  :whistle   But it is amazing how they can put you into the time and place you're working on.
#4 - August 22, 2008, 08:03 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

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I had a research surprise last summer. An adult book I happened to be reading for pleasure paralleled the setting and time period of my MG novel. The details of the adult story supported, affirmed and brought life to my previous research.  :confetti

But I have a question: What is the best way to find original letters/journals and other historical documents?
Jean
#5 - August 22, 2008, 08:12 AM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
Others at www.jeanreidy.com

I totally agree. If you "feel" the atmosphere, chances are that you will be able to evoke it really well in your story.  When I was writing my historical fiction that takes place in 1862 Vancouver Island, alot of it in the woods, I took my laptop up into my kids long-abandoned tree fort. I set up a chair and a little table, and went to the second "story", where I was completely surrounded by firs, cedars, bluejays and the smells were wonderfully intoxicating. I wrote the "lost in the woods" part up there. (Added bonus: nobody knew where I was!!)  When I wrote the scenes that took place in the Salish native village, I had Salish ceremonial music playing in the background. THAT really helped me when it came time to write about a particular ceremony/gathering.  It was way too much fun!!
#6 - August 22, 2008, 08:14 AM
HANNAH & THE SPINDLE WHORL  (Ronsdale, 2010)
HANNAH & THE SALISH SEA (Ronsdale, 2013)
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But I have a question: What is the best way to find original letters/journals and other historical documents?
Jean

That depends on what time/place you're researching...can you specify?
#7 - August 22, 2008, 08:42 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

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Marissa, It's WWII Italy. I have gobs of info but what is the best way to search for journals and original documents?
Jean
#8 - August 22, 2008, 10:30 AM
Jean Reidy
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Hi Jean,

One thing that comes to mind immediately is to talk to your local VFW...WWII vets are still around but going quickly (my father-in-law was in both North Africa and Italy...sadly he died in January) and there might still be some vets (or families of some) that have sources like you're seeking that they might be willing to share.

You can also check places like eBay, believe it or not.  I just did a quickie search there and found this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/6x-WWII-Air-Mail-Letters-from-a-Brtish-Soldier-in-Italy_W0QQitemZ380055805572QQihZ025QQcategoryZ4726QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD2VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1638Q2em122

Or talk to librarians at your local library or university if you have one nearby...they might be able to track down collections you could access.

Good luck!
#9 - August 22, 2008, 10:47 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

Rena

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Amber -- That sounds like a lot of fun, as well as a great learning experience. Enjoy your Frankincense.

Maybe I'll write a picture book about chocolate today!  :chocolate
#10 - August 22, 2008, 10:57 AM

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Mmm, chocolate. I've had a piece of Dove's Dark Chocolate sitting on the counter for two days now, staring at me. But I will prevail. (Besides, I've got a few oatmeal cookies that need to be eaten first.)

Unfortunately, I don't know what kind of music people in Yemen listened to back in its heyday (which was around 700 B.C.). Probably hasn't changed too much from what the nomadic tribes listen to now, I guess.

One good thing that happened to me today: while on the tread-mill, I realized what my MC needs and has to fight for.   :bangbreak I kept writing myself in circles, wondering why he was doing something so outlandish. And now I know! :-)

The incense should be here on Monday.  :D
#11 - August 22, 2008, 11:22 AM
THE FIRE WISH, Random House Children's, 2014
THE BLIND WISH, Random House Children's, 2015
www.amberlough.com

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Hi Jean,

One thing that comes to mind immediately is to talk to your local VFW...WWII vets are still around but going quickly (my father-in-law was in both North Africa and Italy...sadly he died in January) and there might still be some vets (or families of some) that have sources like you're seeking that they might be willing to share.

You can also check places like eBay, believe it or not.  I just did a quickie search there and found this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/6x-WWII-Air-Mail-Letters-from-a-Brtish-Soldier-in-Italy_W0QQitemZ380055805572QQihZ025QQcategoryZ4726QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD2VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1638Q2em122

Or talk to librarians at your local library or university if you have one nearby...they might be able to track down collections you could access.

Good luck!

Thanks for the great advice, Marissa. The e bay letters are awesome.
Jean

#12 - August 22, 2008, 12:11 PM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
Others at www.jeanreidy.com

ecb

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Quote
One good thing that happened to me today: while on the tread-mill, I realized what my MC needs and has to fight for.   :bangbreak I kept writing myself in circles, wondering why he was doing something so outlandish. And now I know! :-)

Huzzah!  I know the feeling--that mixture of intense relief and excitement: "Oh, thank the heavens: I actually do have something to write about!" :dr

An added bonus of the research fun: it will give you something interesting to talk about at school visits and author talks!
#13 - August 22, 2008, 01:34 PM

Rena

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Good point, Elizabeth. If you could bring some Frankincense to a school visit, the kids would love it. Most recognize the name from the Bible, but probably have never smelled it.
#14 - August 22, 2008, 02:21 PM

merewald

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I must agree. Researching can be so much fun.  :yup
#15 - September 05, 2008, 01:39 PM

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