Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Finding Literary Characters in History

Today, while listening to my all-time favorite podcast "Stuff You Missed in History Class," I learned about a German chemist named Fritz Haber. Haber's contributions to chemistry are dichotomous. On one hand his developments in fertilizer possibly allowed for the current population, and according to the podcast, two in five people would be dead if not for the increased crop production allowed by his fertilizer developments. On the other hand, Haber was also heavily involved in chemical warfare developments during the first World War--and as Sarah and Deblina point out, he actively sought to development gases used in warfare. He left Germany in the 30s--despite being a very patriotic German, he was Jewish. However, his research was used to develop Zyklon B--the gas used to kill millions of Jews during the Holocaust. Haber's own relatives were killed in camps from Zyklon B.
(You can read more about Haber on the How Stuff Works website here.)
This made me think of Gael in The Hunger Games trilogy. In Mockingjay it is the development of Gael's bomb that leads to Katniss' sister Prim's death, and ultimately plays a large part in Katniss choosing Peeta over Gael.
Any of your favorite characters that remind you (or were based on) historical figures?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Victorian Corsets

Fascinating stuff on the "less taxing" corsets of Victorian ladies. I just keep thanking my lucky stars I don't have to lace myself into one of those!

But women in every generation have sacrificed for beauty. What's your sacrifice?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Research Quip

What made the "San Francisco Call" on May 18th, 1909?

* "Mrs. Taft ill from nervous breakdown" - but don't worry, her sister took over her social duties.
* "Society Belle becomes Minstrels Bride" - I'm SO curious! But there's no further explanation!
*Several bridge parties hosted by "The Smart Set"

Thank heavens of the California Digital Newspapers Collection. I know I'll be going back there!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Questions In My Head: Dinner Conversation in 1909

In the time between when my head hits the pillow and I actually fall asleep--a vastly changing number depending on the night and the thoughts--I usually construct scenes. Since my heroine of the Time Travel Romance (that's not the real name, I promise, but it doesn't have one yet) Clara is sitting down to dinner in 1909 with only one person who knows anything about 2011 where she comes from, I tried to come up with dinner conversation.
Things I considered before deciding it probably wasn't appropriate for a lady to discuss:
* How long Ben Mitchell has been her "guardian" and their respective fathers' deaths.
* Anything political going on.
* Anything that might be interesting ...

Which led me to the Questions In My Head:
1. What did ladies talk about at dinner in 1909?
2. What did they eat?
3. How were they served?
4. Why haven't I bought "Seasons of Splendor" yet ...?

So while I'm off to go research, maybe somebody knows the answer? Jot it down in the comments for me! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Gilded Age!

Today I'm working on my time traveling romance and my heroine, Clara, has just stumbled into 1909. I've been using Amazon's Look Inside feature to read about clothing in the Gilded Age from Greg King's "A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in Gilded Age New York." I'm seriously coveting that book right now! I also found a couple neat sites to help me with Clara's new underwear! Vintage Victorian was a great insight into what she'd put on.
Getting to write about a character who travels back to 1909 is nice because she gets to make all kinds of slip-ups in her speech (because I will invariably write them). Yet what girl can't hark back to some great historical romance she read and pull out some sophisticated lines? My favorite so far? Clara blames her lack of appropriate clothing on her lady's maid abandoning her and stealing all her clothes.
Is anyone else as obsessed with the Gilded Age as I am? If not, what's your favorite era for romances?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

History and NaNo Wrimo

I know it's still over two months away, but every year as November gets closer, I get excited! If you don't know what NaNo WriMo is, head on over to their website here. I got my idea while listening to the "Missed in History" podcast, which is why my first NaNo WriMo post of the year is on my write+history blog instead of on my writing blog.

Drum roll please ...

What would it be like if famous historical figures like Marie Antoinette went to high school?

It would be a hilarious way to pick up a little history. Here are some of my thoughts so far:
* Madame la guillotine = swirlies in a toilet
* A mob of fed up students, led by the ultra nerd, storming detention.
* A prom queen who spends all the school's money on ... well, prom!

These thoughts of course led me down a wonderful, imaginative road. I'm definitely envisioning a series which includes World War II in the form of a basketball championship, the "American" football players getting impressed into the "British" football team (War of 1812 anyone?) ... the possibilities are ENDLESS!

I love being me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm Too Crazy For My Own Good

This whole thing is ludicrous. Why in the world am I adding yet another blog? Let's be serious for a minute and consider how good I am at posting on the others. Not bad lately on my writing blog. Absolutely horrendous on my family blog. I wrote my Mommy Author's post this morning and scheduled it to post because I'm moving sometime in the next two weeks. Yeah, I'M MOVING. Sometime in the next two weeks. That is actually as exact as the schedule is!
So what has possessed me??
1. I LOVE history. I should marry it. (hehehe)
2. There are SO many links between writing and history. I want to explore them all.
SO what will this blog be about, you ask? Will it be about writing about history? Will it be about the history of literature? Will it be about history in writing? Will it be about the history of writing? I hope it will be a little bit about all of that.
I can say that history inspires almost everything I've every written. I have this podcast that I adore. (You'll see multiple links to it on this blog, I'm sure.) It's called Stuff You Missed in History Class. Every time I listen to one I get a story idea.
Sometimes I have to research history--I still like doing that, despite being out of school--and I want to share the cool stuff I've learned.
That's what this blog will be about.