|Me on Bunker Hill looking down towards Charlestown during a "research" trip to Boston in October 2011.
But in the meantime, how about something a bit more fun and lighthearted? I'd mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts that I would like to foray into historical fiction writing someday and am already brainstorming/researching for character and plot ideas. Given that, I thought I'd take this time to share a bit about something that, time and finances permitting, I like to do with my story-writing projects: "research" trips.
Note the quotation marks. See, I seldom have the luxury or the connections that would permit me to go someplace to really formally research: accessing archives, academic sources, etc. Most of the "research" trips I've taken in the past have, in fact, just my taking advantage of any existent family vacations to glean what little I can that would be useful for my writing. What that means is that I very rarely ask that we go somewhere directly relevant to my story development - the onus is not on the rest of the party (who may or may not actually be interested in what I want to do) to accommodate me, but on me to keep my eyes and ears open anywhere we go. Vacations are a lot more enjoyable that way, I've found ;)
Since I've started dabbling in historical fiction writing - Hetalia fanfiction and otherwise - I've really only gone on two real "research" trips so far. (I've gone on more family trips than that, but not necessarily to places that'd be directly relevant to what I want to write.)
The first was in October 2011 to Boston, Massachusetts; at the time, I was working on my Hetalia piece Brother of Absalom, which was set before and during the American Revolutionary War. While my immediate focus was on Canadian history - and the Continental Army's invasion of Quebec from 1775-1776 in particular - I really wanted to milk an already-planned trip to Boston for all its worth.
|A historical interpreter/tour guide dressed as a British soldier on the Freedom Trail in Boston; photo taken in October 2011 during a "research" trip.
|Historical buildings near Covent Garden, London; photo taken during a "research" trip in May 2014.
|1727-1728 Period room reproduction at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; photo taken during a "research" trip in May 2014.
We were pretty much dead on our feet by the time we rendezvoused at the gate. That's when they told us: we were going to La Citadelle, which meant a whole ton more walking! Well, we got there, we were divided by our buses again, and were taken on a tour. It was really kind of boring. They kept on mentioning the Battle on the Plains of Abraham. I was really finding this annoying, and besides, who brags about LOSING?!?!
Um...yeah. Forgive me if I end up cringing whenever I think back to how flippant I was about my own country's history as a 14-year-old. Said teenaged self would probably have never imagined that I'd be where I am now: completely fascinated by the events of 1759 and desperately wanting to go back to Quebec City for a proper "research" trip. It's about time I did it justice, after all!
All photos (c) Kita Inoru