Researching Fun!

Lauren Compton History, Jayne's Endeavour, JOY Series, Research 4 Comments

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly at the end of 2018 already and now 2019 is just a matter of days away!! I’m afraid I missed last week’s post! 🙁 I’d been going really well with posting weekly, so I was disappointed to skip a week! 🙂 But I’m back on track this week. 😀

Today I thought I’d share one of the research books I used while writing Jayne’s Endeavour.

I really love this book! It’s full of interesting info on different types of homes, the realities of housekeeping (from carting water to lighting and sewing), food, special occasions, and the different living conditions and challenges that pioneer women faced. It really is a gem of a book! 😀 And one of the cool things about it, is that it’s full of snapshots and stories of real pioneer women and their families.

As a writer, the abundance of black and white photographs inside this book (like the one on the cover) are very inspiring and helpful! When I was doing a writing course a number of years ago, one of the assignments was to look at a black and white photo and really take time to drink in all the details. The photo in the course was a wedding photo (it actually looked like it was a double wedding). They posed such questions as: What are they wearing? Who is absent? What are the circumstances? What smells are in the air? They even wanted me to “talk” with the people in the photograph (yep! the things writers do 😉 ).

It’s like becoming a part of the world inside the photo–taking a moment to put myself inside the shoes of other people and an entirely different time period.

Like I mentioned in last week’s post, it’s super amazing how much things can change in only a matter of decades. I find it so interesting to learn how things have been done in the past. It’s so easy to take for granted what we have, or just to accept things as being how they are without stopping to think how they used to be.

Even though times and circumstances change, God never changes!

All of the images below are from about the same year as Jayne’s Endeavour takes place (1872). Yet even though they were all taken in virtually the same year, there is a huge variance in the styles and living conditions in each picture.

This is one things I found confusing when researching! I wanted absolutes. What did houses look like–precisely. Or what type of clothes did the women wear? Or what did they use to cook–a stove or an open fire. I eventually found out that there is quite a bit of diversity, even in one region and time period! So I had to take a deep breath and realise that there was often more than one answer to my questions–rather than one hard and fast rule! 😛


A woman and children in front of their whitewashed cottage with shingle roof, Hill End, New South Wales, ca. 1873
I believe this is also from Hill End, NSW or nearby. 🙂 I love the huge gum tree that frames the photograph!

Two women and three young children standing at the gate of a slab hut with bark roof, wattle and daub chimney and sapling fence, Hill End, New South Wales, ca.1872 

If you really could talk with the people in the photographs, what stories and tales they’d be able to tell us! 😀 Hope you’ve enjoyed a little peek into Australia’s past and the type of thing that inspires me as I write the JOY series!

Comments 4

  1. Avatar

    This is so neat! When my well runs dry, I have several picture books on the American War Between the States that I draw from. Coffee table books are some of my favorite modes of research! Research is half the fun of writing!

    1. Lauren Compton Post
      Author

      Research can definitely be distracting! 😀 When I was trying to decide what time period to base Jayne’s Endeavour in, the children’s history book section in the library was my favourite place for research! Those type of books are great for getting an overview as they are packed with photos and are more appealing than wading through pages and pages of text! Those American War picture books sound great!

  2. Avatar

    Your book sounds great! I may be adding it to my list. I haven’t read a good pioneer book in years. I enjoy history on pioneers from just about anywhere. How they managed, what they learned to do without, and the core spirit of these people always fascinates me!
    While I am not a writer, pictures still hold much inspiration for me as well. Sometimes we just need visual references.

    1. Lauren Compton Post
      Author

      Thanks for your encouragement, Emily! 😀 If you end up reading my book, I hope it inspires you in your walk with God as well as giving you a glimpse into pioneer life in Australia!

      The pioneer era is certainly an interesting one!! Yes! Visual references can really help to capture and convey the essence of something.

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