NaNo Is Not the Time for Research

But damn it’s hard to knowingly write a potentially incorrect scene!

I am struggling with special marriage licenses. Specifically, was there a formal wait between issuance and the marriage, or not?

All the web resources I found last night did not mention a wait. BUT I know that once upon a time I found a really fabulous rant about the fact that there was a 3-day wait, that most authors don’t mention and thusly get wrong. In fact, that rant? Was what inspired the entire story I’m writing, because I decided to play with the scenario of what might inspire an aristocrat to try and get around that 3-day wait.

Now I am worried that the rant I read had it wrong, and there was no wait. This would not, in fact, impact the story at all at this point; the dying man’s aristocratic father would still have a reason to bribe Canterbury for a quick special license – it would just be to not do the eligibility research, rather than to either pre-date the license or give a dispensation for skipping the three days. It DOES change the specific conversation, but not the events or their later consequences.

Unfortunately for me…that conversation with Canterbury is the scene I am writing next. I’ve started it, got the father into the room with him. And now…I don’t know which way to write the damn thing. Do I write it both ways so I can just insert the proper one later, when I (hopefully) can get a definitive answer? Or just write it one way now and understand that I might have to tweak it a little bit later?

Oh, the trials of attempting historical accuracy….

In NaNoWriMo news, my word count has sunk to about 950 a day but considering it was a 0 beforehand, and also that on the days I actually write I am averaging more like 1200 words (I am just, obviously, not writing every single day nor making up the ground from skipped days), I am pleased with progress so far. I have revised my goal of “winning” to just getting out of the prologue. 🙂



Filed under NaNoWriMo Updates, Research

2 responses to “NaNo Is Not the Time for Research

  1. Carlie Lawson

    Depending on where you set the story, you could go to the government Web site and look up the law. It will usually tell in what year it was passed. Sometimes, there’ll be a link leading to the former law. The U.S. has the federal code of regulation online. Each state I’ve needed to do research in has had an online copy of their state codes/laws.

    • Hi Carlie! Thanks for the tip RE U.S. states and their regulations. That is useful information to have in my pocket for later projects!
      Unfortunately this story is set in England after the marriage act of 1753 and before any of the reforms of the 1830s. There are a lot of websites about the different ways to get married during that time…and they don’t all agree on what the actual rules were! I’m working on finding more reliable resources than internet hearsay. It might come to reading CoE ecclesiastical laws…but I would rather it not for a relatively obscure plot point 🙂

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