I must be nuts. The chapter I’m trying to write for my novel Free Souls revolves around a certain piece of classical music (two Brownie points and a kazoo to the first reader who can name which one!), and since my characters are listening to it in 1975, it has to be vinyl and recorded prior to then. But not too many years prior, since my MC considers it to be a “new” recording when she receives it as a gift and it has to be one she doesn’t already know. It also has to be a highly-rated, compelling rendition of the work, since the power of it incites my characters say and do certain things vital to the plot.
I own a pre-1975 recording of this music, but it’s a rather make-do, economy version, all I could afford at the time.
So what did I do? I went online and found a list of major recordings of the piece made before 1975. I Googled those closest to that year and read reviews of likely candidates. I focussed in on the one that was the most highly-rated, that might ergo be expected to produce the desired effect on my characters. I learned what parts of the composition were on what sides of the two-record set, and verified that no movements were split. And then, not content with all that, I–
I went on Ebay this morning and bought a copy of the LP in question.
This is crazy. This novel will never count as Great Literature. I’m already posting it publicly here on my writer’s blog, so I’ll never make a dime out of it. Hell, I can’t even get my friends and relations to click over from Facebook and read it, even though it’s here for free. But there I go, spending the time and money anyway.
And I can do little more on the current chapter until the album arrives in a week or two and I can listen to it a few times. But I’m willing to pay the price of another hiatus to get the scene right.
So am I nuts? How important is writing research to you? How far will you go for verisimilitude?