Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Families

How do you go about writing a book, anyway? Somehow, I've switched from writing Poetry to Fiction, and now I've made the jump to Creative Non-Fiction. Without yet producing one complete book.

No, wait, I do have a poetry manuscript.

Since I plan to present Families creatively, improvising the elements of fiction (dialogue, characterization, setting), I've decided to start as I would a novel. The Research!

In a novel, of course, my research was internal: Creating characters, scenes, and plot is as private and focused as playing with Barbies. Setting, now there's an opportunity for library research.

Here, however, I'm locked into the setting and timeframe, so research becomes huge.

The Lit Review So Far:

Went on a shopping spree at one used book store and two libraries.

History of the Middle East: Just had to start somewhere, though other books on the specific history of Lebanon is preferable.

Insight Guide to Syria and Lebanon: Good for an overview, geography, culture, food, and "look and feel" of a country. Plus I'm addicted to travel guides.

Nadia: Captive of Hope. Memoir of an Arab woman raised in the same time period as my grandmother.

A Student's Guide to History: this introductory book for History Majors is full of good reminders on how to conduct research, and includes some practical advice. Few surprises here, but it's helping me to focus and remember how to do this right.

Several Kids Books on Lebanon: Ok, weird I know. But 3 of the 4 books available at my local library branch were kid's books. I figure they're chock full of good photos, and provide a concise overview. If I weren't also downloading scholarly articles, then I'd worry. I'd rather worry about the poor quality of books in the library, and their laissez-faire attitude about theft.

In researching the research, I came across one really good site for online access to journal articles.

Of course, the problem is, now I've got a lot of reading to do.



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