I’ve been obsessed for two days, trying to find the hôtel (home) of la Comtesse d’Armagnac (Catherine de Neufville de Villeroy), who gave a very fancy party for the King and select members of the court on December 14, 1665.
This fête features in the novel I’m writing now because my heroine’s mother plays in the somewhat sneaky production of Racine’s Alexandre the Great offered there.
(Sneaky because the play has just opened at Molière’s theatre, and this production is given by his arch-rival, the actors of the Bourgogne theatre. A few days later the Bourgogne will shock Molière’s troupe by opening the play themselves. In consequence, Molière, Racine’s mentor, will never speak to the young Racine again.)
It’s hard to write a scene if you don’t know where it’s happening. Guessing is allowed when the information is scarce, but I prefer it to be an educated guess. What plagues me is that I know that this information is out there, somewhere, and it becomes such a tantalizing puzzle trying to find it. I’ve not found her hôtel (yet), but I’ve certainly found out quite a bit about Madame la Comtesse. (Fourteen children and still a beauty.)
It’s a guilty obsession, research: I know I’m avoiding getting on with the revision of the novel; this scene is not that important, after all. Yet even so: I persist. Is there an AAA for researchers?
For more on my research process and research in general, go to On Research.
Hi Sandra:) I don’t know about an AA for it but- since I am a crazy-never-satisfied-till-I find out more- researcher-type..it’s surprising there isn’t a disorder named for this. Something like, Obsessive Hyperactive Research Curiosa-lol!
Can’t wait to see what you will find- I agree that details like these add greatly to the scene. I love this type of puzzle. Take care:)
Yes, it’s that Curiosity Killed the Cat syndrome! I confess I’m still looking for the answer to this, although forcing myself to tend to revision.
Researchers anonymous, huh? This sounds very intriguing to me too. Let us know when you find it because I just bet you will do it. Nice little tidbit about Moliere and Racine that I had not known either. Thanks for telling us now.
Hi Janet, “Researchers Anonymous” is perfect. The Moliere/Racine dynamic is very interesting. I confess I’m not a fan of Racine — as a person. As a poet: that’s another matter.
I love this!
I once spent an entire day hunting down the specific kind of gun Ernest Hemingway used on a specific date for a specific fishing trip. (Yes, fishing. He used to shoot sharks off the side of the boat to protect his catch from getting nipped.)
I even watched videos of how the rifle shot and consulted a gun expert.
It was for one sentence of the book.
Erika, that’s rich. One sentence! Yet all important. It’s the type of thing that will drive a writer crazy. You really do need to know what gun he was using and how it worked.
I can so relate. Since the protagonists of my novel also happen to be my great-grandparents, I have the added temptation to dig a lot deeper than I have to in the name of genealogical research. If you find a support group for researchers, I’ll need to join. Sigh…
Well, Kim, maybe we can start that group now: membership of two. “Sigh” indeed!