NaNoWriMo Preptober Research (2019)


November is National Novel Writing Month, an annual event during which partipants try to complete a novel-length work of 50,000 words in a single month. The month before is Preptober, an official unofficial month for Nano hopefuls to prepare their novels. Yours truly is participating!

This year, I'm working on the zeroth draft for my fantasy comic, Dorwode, which is about a group of witch hunters navigating city politics. Think queer Dragon Age: Origins (you know, the best entrant in the series). Outlining and research are big parts of my writing process, so I'm trying to squeeze in some preliminary research on old-timey stuff before I'm tapped for time and unable to do much more than minutes-long Google searches. The "preliminary" aspect is exactly why my list is particularly indulgent, focusing on sociological perspectives rather than, like, technological innovations through the years or the political landscape during the First Industrial Revolution. You know, useful stuff.

While I heavily outline, I only do so to a point. For me, there's a certain push and pull between freer discovery writing that's driven by the characters and more regimented plotting, so while I normally have an idea of where I'll end up before I start writing a story, I have no idea what will happen on the way there and because I don't know, I can only read generally for research. Dorwode is set in a second world with gods, mythical creatures, and magic, all of which fuel their burgeoning industrialization. The Victorian era is the most notable in mind for that transition, so I'm focusing on that period.

My priority for October are the below books, but I actually have a shelf's worth of fiction I'd like to get to as well. Those will be discussed in individual posts and/or a monthly wrap-up.


  1. Bonk by Mary Roach
  2. London's Sinful Secret: The Bawdy History and Very Public Passions of London's Georgian Age by Dan Cruickshank
  3. Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
  4. The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders
  5. The Worm in the Bud: The World of Victorian Sexuality by Ronald Pearsall
  6. Underland by Robert Macfarlane
  7. Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth-Century London by Lynda Need
  8. When Brooklyn Was Queer by Hugh Ryan