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Research...how much is too much?
I may have mentioned previously that I am writing a novel - my Great American Novel - and, one day, I may even finish it. Over the past few days I have been rewriting (well, adding extra detail) an existing chapter to provide further background to what is one of my central characters, Harold Lutz. In doing so, I decided to describe briefly his arrival in America just after WWII
I planned to have Harold work in a factory in New York. In this way, I could introduce him to his future wife, Bettina, a fellow refugee. I then planned to transport them to the small town where much of my novel is set. As I am a keen hat wearer myself, I decided to get him a job in a hat factory - just because I like hats!
(I have emailed two current hat companies in New York outlining the above and both have replied - one with details of their history (previous sites and of their stores and the business name around the time in question etc) and the other has passed my query to their PR dept.)
In online researching factories in NYC around the decade immediately post war, I stumbled across some names of long dead firms and images of their buildings from that time. The fabulous thing is that these images show huge signs for the hat firms that are painted directly onto the brickwork of the buildings. This is GREAT for me as my story has a tie in to the signwriting trade and I was puzzling over how to get Harold from a job in NYC to his role as a signwriter in the small town where he moves to.
Rather than have Harold work as in the maintenance department of the hat factory, I can now employ him as a signwriter painting the building sign and still have him meet Bettina. And his move to a small town will make sense. (Eventually!)
A simple plot twist resolved by a little bit of research.
***However, the above info will be used in a very brief part of my story - maybe a page? maybe less? So, is this too much delving and researching for such a tiny bit of plot background?