Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remember When . . . We Misplaced Tombs?

One more day to enter the giveaway from Friday's post for Golden's A Prisoner of Versailles!


This week I've been diving back into my 20s Egypt story, and as I got to work on it and began sorting through my research, I realized I needed some more information. So I went online and basically just dove into a haystack to search out a needle.

My goal: find a rich pharaoh whose tomb is lost.

My purpose: put my antagonist on the trail of it.

My complication: his location has to actually contain clues vital to my hero's search for something else entirely.

In moments like these, I ask myself questions like, "Why do I write historicals? How am I supposed to find this stuff and actually make it make sense? What am I thinking???"

Then I stumble across something that works perfectly, and I have that moment of "Aha! Right! This is why it's so much fun!"

Yesterday I spent a good hour looking up my lost pharaoh who could somehow be linked to my hero's search for Atlantis. A formidable task, given the fact that I'm pretty sure there is no actual link between Egypt and Atlantis. But, you know. Fiction. I just need something to fit my version of facts.

Since my version of facts start with Plato's version of facts, I returned to Critias. According to this fellow, who is quoting his grandfather, who was good friends with Solon (who was in truth Plato's great-grandfather) the story Plato has of Atlantis originated with the priests in Sais, Egypt.

So Roseanna went to Sais (digitally speaking). Found some pharaohs linked to it, looked one up, and voila! Amasis II! Rich dude, would have had quite a burial. Tomb mentioned in Herodotus but has never been found. Score!! My antag can look for it, fruitlessly. My hero can go to his dig at some point and find, not the tomb, but a secret chamber containing writings that detail . . . well, he won't know what they detail, because he can't read them. But still. To a historian, finding a chamber filled with writings at all is super-exciting.

And that's the fruit of my haystack-dive. Oh, the tangled web we historical writers weave when we practice to make up history that is plausible and yet totally untrue . . .


  1. Oh, yay! I'm so glad you found something! Now you can get that thing written and send it my way :)

  2. Now you've got me excited about reading it! =)

  3. Talk about a haystack! Sounds fun!

    I'm afraid I'm going to have the CIA pounding down my door since my newest story involves a Muslim woman and I've been researching Islam as well as the military. Hmmm, my novel writing is making me out to be a well... Next thing you know I'll be on the watch list. :)

  4. Jess, toss your hands in the air and scream, "I'm just a novelist! I swear!"

    I have a semi-Muslim woman in my contemporary WIP too--she's Bedouin, actually, from a tribe that only gives lip-service to the Quran. (A cheat on my part, I know, LOL.) I get into that on the post called "Modern . . . Old-Fashioned Folks."