It has been a big job, adding endnotes to something already written, and it’s not finished yet. I have been through all my research notes and the books I bought, and even got some new ones out of the library, but I have not been able to find everything yet.
Strangely enough, it is the basic history which eludes me. Unfortunately when I began this project it was going to be a historical novel or historical fantasy novel, so I didn’t bother to note down where I found my information. Once it turned into popular history I thought a bibliography would be enough. But I have come to see that although it is not destined to be an academic work, it is still important to establish my sources.
The trouble is that I want it to be more than dry historical facts, and have managed to ferret out all sorts of interesting details to bring the story to life. But they came from many different books, and I have to retrace my steps. So many books only tell the bare bones of the story.
I also have a problem that I have written two general chapters on daily life and marriage in medieval times, and relied for a lot of it on internet research. Academics don’t approve. Sometimes I have looked at one web site and assumed it was accurate, whereas I should have cross checked the information.
The academics from the Historical Association who kindly read the draft pointed out some valid things and made some very good suggestions. I am rather pleased though that one person disagreed with one of my statements and I have managed to find the source and corroborate it!
In addition to doing the endnotes I have listened to advice and thought about the structure of the book, and as a result have moved a lot of chapters around and reworked things into a more logical order. I must remember that having decided to base the story around Alina’s life, it has to always relate to her. I have a habit of going off into an interesting bit of history that doesn’t actually have anything to do with her. For example, I did a lot of work on a chapter on the pacification of the Welsh, which I am very proud of (posted in three parts on this blog in Dec 09 and Jan 10). Unfortunately it happened before she was born.
Every time I don’t think I can do any more to the story I get some advice that lifts it to a new level, so I am certain it is worth the effort. I may never get it published, but I have certainly enjoyed it, and learned a lot.