[livejournal.com profile] writers_muses 22.7 - Mun Prompt

Feb. 5th, 2008 11:10 pm
nomanselizabth: (Default)
[personal profile] nomanselizabth
Mun prompt: How much research is too much research for a new muse? How much is not enough? When do you know the difference?

Admittedly, as a muse, I have not had Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I) very long. In spite of my almost lifelong interest in the Elizabethan period, and endless reading on the subject, it sort of snuck up on me that I might consider taking her up as a muse in the various groups on LJ.

How much research is too much research?

As far as I am concerned, that depends on a number of factors. Of course, when you are writing an historical personage, you want to avail yourself of as much of the most current research into that person. With someone as well known and as beloved as Elizabeth is, the temptation is to read everything there is out there to read. I have read a great deal and when you do that much research you run the risk of letting it interfere with the actual act of writing. It is too much when your research actually blocks you from the act of writing. Because even though research is part and parcel of the craft of Writing, it isn't the act of writing itself. You still have to sit down at the page and write out, from the character's perspective, what those historical events might translate to. When the history and the documentation gets in the way of the voice of the person behind the events then you have gone too far into the research.

I worry about that sometimes with Elizabeth, because the history of the period and the events that happened during her reign were many and staggering. Of course, various historians have different opinions as to the motivations of any of the players within the series of events. For Elizabeth, I wanted her to talk about it. At the core of her reasons for how she ruled, why she never married, how she conducted affairs were simple human emotions and motivations. And even with these still underneath it all, she knew first and foremost that she was entrusted with the goodwill and the good stewardship of her People and her Kingdom. A writer must have an eye and a bit of sympathy toward these sorts of underlying motivations. It's hard to do that if all you are doing is quoting, facts, figures and dates.
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