anthimeria: A laptop keyboard and the Latin "Quot libros quam breve tempus" (Quot libros)
Lauren K. Moody ([personal profile] anthimeria) wrote2014-11-23 10:26 pm


Want to send me into a research spiral?  Have me going over my character profiles since it's been more than a week since I picked them up and realizing I don't know what they wear in winter, and my book takes place during a Colorado winter.

Cue an hour and a half of googling trying to figure out not only what they should be wearing culturally (difficult, b/c they're both second-generation immigrants from very different climates), what they should be wearing given the Western/American influence, what they're be wearing considering they're both working class/teetering on the edge of damn poor, what materials would've been available, and whether they'd've purchased said winter clothing or made it.


So my research this evening has included: what did winter coats look like in the Western world in the nineteenth century, what were they made of, what classes wore those coats, which of the available materials were available in Colorado, and what the Civil War did to the cotton industry.

I have come to some conclusions that I think are relatively reasonably given my characters race, class, immigrant status, age, and environment, but they're basically educated guesses.  I hate it when that happens.  The dearth of research I can find on the working and lower classes, especially non-European-immigrant working classes in places other than New York, Chicago or San Francisco, is annoying.  Source suggestions welcome.

What I've ended up doing is a lot of conglomeration--I have pictures from one source and materials information from another and okay this design is half a century too early not to mention its of the wrong class but the idea is probably there.  Here's hoping it results in something probable.

Also, yes, I did all this to figure out A) whether my characters would have winter coats at all, and/or other winter weather solutions, and B) what those winter weather clothing solutions would be.

I've put a lot more effort into social and cultural research, but still.  Writing historical anything is a morass of research and even then I'm sure I'll get details wrong.  (Only some of which can be handwaved with "steampunk alternate history!")

All right, venting over.  Maybe now I can actually get to the new plot, which is what I intended to work on today . . .

. . . unless I get snagged in another character detail.  *sigh*

(It's such a good thing I love worldbuilding.  Such a good thing.)