Interesting for me, coming from the opposite direction.
How you go about researching your novel obviously depends very much on its subject and style. If the setting is the recent past, then material should be plentiful – you may even be able to meet and talk to people who were alive at the time. Recordings of interviews extend this very direct form of eye-witness testimony back further. Film footage varies in its immediacy – colour and sound make it seem very modern, silent and black and white appears stilted and distant. Wherever possible it is worth casting your net widely and looking out for anything of the vaguest relevance – flickering images of street scenes or the countryside might well help you to imagine the world inhabited by your characters, as well as giving hints about scenery, objects and fashion.
Written testimony is also much fuller for the last few centuries. Some of it conveniently collected into social…
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