Last year I started writing a pocket novel intended for My Weekly and set during The Blitz in London. I did quite a lot of research and wanted the period detail to be as authentic as possible. I wrote about 32,000 words (the finished novel has to be 50,000 words), then ground to a halt. Why? I couldn't find out any details about dressmaking in 1940. Why didn't I make it up and carry on? My perfectionist tendencies often block me as a writer, as I've said before. I feel I have to get it right first time (hence my problems with the first draft of my crime novel), then get frustrated when I don't. Anyway, I'm determined to finish the pocket novel in the next couple of weeks. I've dug out my books about The Blitz and hope to find something to inspire me enough to finish this particular work-in-progress.
I dropped lucky this week in that an email from Rugby Freecycle landed in my Inbox offering an eight volume set of World War 2 Magazines published in 1972. Of course, the year they were published is also the year in which my crime novel is set. It felt like this was meant to be. I arranged to go and pick up the magazines yesterday (the person who got in first didn't turn up to collect them, so another bit of serendipity!). There are some great photographs in the magazines and they were worth getting for these alone. I find that photographs can be great a starting point for a story or an idea. I still haven't found that nugget of information to inspire me to continue with the pocket novel (and still don't know much about dressmaking in 1940), but maybe I'll plough on regardless. Sometimes you can sweat it too much.