I have been stressed lately that I’ll never finish researching for my current project. I think this is probably spurred on by the fact that my mentorship is finishing (eeek!) and I’m still discovering new tidbits that could change parts of my storyline.

I’ve just started reading The Lost City of Z as part of my research and I am totally addicted. It’s non-fiction that reads like an adventure novel but starting this book made me felt like a total idiot.

I had not even heard of Percy Harrison Fawcett and yet, amateur explorers from all over the world try and retrace his steps, looking for the truth of his disappearance and what he may have discovered deep in the Amazon. I was horrified that I had been researching archaeology and pre-columbian history for almost a year and I had missed this; a true story that so closely identifies to the world of my novel.

At these times, there is a mean little voice in my head that pipes up with stupid comments like, “you’re not smart enough to put all that science and history into a fiction novel” or “even first-year archaeologists would tear your novel apart. Quit while you’re ahead!”

I posted my research question to YA author Justine Larbalestier, who has very generously posted her reply today, which you can read here.

It has really set my mind at ease. I will never stop researching (I’m a science and history geek) and I feel so much better knowing that this is normal. As Diana mentioned in the comments, there are so many historians and scientists who were inspired by fictional books and movies. Even through my research, I have learned how many archaeologists grew up on the Indiana Jones movies (yes, despite Indy destroying every mummy-dig site-etc he touches).

Perhaps, one day my books will inspire more kids and adults to learn the history of the world (because it is fascinating) and read the science articles in the paper (because they are seriously cool) and that would make all of this research paranoia totally worth it.

**Update: according to IMDB a film based on The Lost City of Z is in production to star Brad Pitt.**



  1. Your anxiety is palpable! I empathise with you hon, and certainly know what you mean. Isn’t it great when you find someone you admire who can put your fears to rest? (thanks for the link)Katherine

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