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  • historical research

     HappiWriter updated 5 months ago 6 Members · 18 Posts
  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    I’m trying to do historical research for a story. Any tips?

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Google. ūüôā

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    What about Jewish history?

    Any good resources?

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    What period of time?

    Avigdor Miller has some excellent Jewish history books, and I believe he’s authoritative. There are some Artscroll books too that are really good.

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Berel Wein is amazing.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    What era in history?

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 19, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    A mid ninteenth century shtetl/town in Poland/Russia.
    It’s the¬†kind of thing we all¬†heard stories about. We know what life was¬†like ‚ÄĒ sort of.
    I’m trying to get a more¬†perfect picture about daily life. How were houses set up? kitchens/ovens? foods, age of marriage, weddings.
    It’s for a short story. I’m not looking for a major investment of time and money…
    Do any of you out there know more about these things?

    Are there any good online resources for in-depth Jewish daily life in the past?

    thanks

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 19, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Hey HappiWriter,

    I know you’re not looking to invest a lot of time and money in short historical fiction.¬† But no matter the brevity of your piece, because it’s historical in nature, you will automatically have to set aside a lot of energy to get the facts down pat.¬† I unfortunately don’t have any sources for you but I would recommend getting your hands on every single book (non-fiction and fiction alike) from that particular era.¬† Interview historians.¬† Visit the place if need be.¬† Once you obtain the information you need, you’ll have to organize them.¬† Once they’re organized, you’ll have to synthesize them and be prepared to discard the majority of your research.¬† The worst thing is to bog readers down with a ton of information.¬† The skill of writing historical fiction is to weave the research into the story without fact-dumping loads of information on the page.

    So yes, if you think it’s not worth all the effort for a short story, I feel you.¬† I’m grappling with the same issue for a while now but put the story on the back burner because chasing the facts down was too daunting for me.

    • HappiWriter

      Member
      June 22, 2020 at 5:22 pm

      This is reminding me of the time an author visited us in elementary school.She came onto stage with a huge box of books, and explained this was her current research for her upcoming historical serial.
      It’s funny, you remind me of her a bit, Fiction Fangirl. Maybe you’re related… ūüėČ

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 21, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Fact check your details. A year or so there was a magazine Pesach insert on story telling. I still remember this: someone wrote about the trains station in IIRC Radin. There WAS no train station there then. No station = just how far out and “primitive” (with the Chofetz Chaim and yeshiva there, obviously I just mean re the ruchniyus) it was there, and when someone wanted to get to Radin one took a train somewhere else and walked, hitched a ride, etc., which really added to the story.

    • HappiWriter

      Member
      June 22, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      Yeah, this is wonderful! Taking a small overlooked portion of history and dramatizing its practical ramifications…

      It’s stories like these that make history come alive!! ūüôā

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 21, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    This site has some interesting info:

    https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Lopuszno/lop001.html

    • Sherry

      Member
      June 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      This is from the signature of their website:

      This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
      fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
      This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.’s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

      It may be worth your while signing up to this site:

      https://www.facinghistory.org/books-borrowing/jews-poland

       

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks, Sherry, I’ll check it out.
    Just curious: what’s the origins and purpose of this site?

    I find the most difficult part of researching for historical fiction is the small everyday items that are essential for stories but not important to historians.
    It’s nice to read about wars and rulers etc. After getting the overall picture, though, I need to know about their daily lives ‚ÄĒ What they wore, what they ate, how they lived, their hopes, fears, mindset… This is more difficult to find out.

  • Anagrammer

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    What I would do if I were you would be to Google “What did Polish Jews eat/wear in the shtetls?”etc. That way you’re getting more pointed information instead of just the overall feel. I don’t know about hopes and fears though…

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 22, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Ok, hopes and fears was just being poetic… I’m assuming that after studying enough of the current events and lifestyle, it’s possible to form a picture of the peoples’ hopes and fears.

    What I was trying to bring out is that in order to write a proper story, you have to be able to implant yourself in the character’s mindset.

  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    June 22, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    It may also help you to speak to someone who is quite elderly and remembers people who may have known people who lived in the shtetl to get a somewhat authentic sense of detail? Or to have an elderly person read your story and see how it strikes them? Old pictures can be a great resource–y’know, the picture that says 1,000 words! Hatzlacha, Happi! ūüôā

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 26, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Just letting everyone know: This site is very informative: https://yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Shtetl

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