Documentaries as Research

Soon, I’ll be drafting my first historical paranormal. It’s the story of a witch who has transcended time. Her contribution to the world? Bringing supernaturals to America.

Not a straightforward story, especially when the main character existed before history’s dark ages. I found an unexpected resource in a History channel program—Ancient Aliens.

The episode I viewed mentioned the Black Plague. Supposedly there are accounts of villagers who saw dark figures outside of their villages before people became sick.

Is it a historical fact? I don’t know, but it speaks to the speculative nature of my story. Elsbeth (the Red Witch) claims to have created the Black Plague. Did she do it on her own with a spell or did she employ nefarious creatures to do the job for her?

I also watch AHC (American Hero Channel).

There are quite a few documentaries about Hitler and World War II. The information is perfect for my draft of All Things Dark & Magickal: Bitter Fruit. The main character travels back and forth through time. One of her stops is in Nazi Germany. Some of the little-known facts mentioned in the AHC documentaries have helped with the narrative for Bitter Fruit.

Hitler’s Empire: The Post War Plan (photo from AHC).

Even if history isn’t your thing, I’m betting that you might find something that stimulates your creative thinking. One late night when I couldn’t sleep, I rolled the dial and landed on Investigative Discovery (the ID channel). I don’t recommend the network for helping you sleep, but it will leave you thinking. The twisted stories lend themselves to helping create the psychology behind villains. I’ll definitely add the channel to my must-watch list when I’m stuck for inspiration.

Stay aware while watching television. Look for documentaries that might lean toward your story. As long as you’re not writing a biography or nonfiction, you might land on a nugget that either supports your idea or becomes the building block for a plot.

One thought on “Documentaries as Research

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! Love that you pulled from history and speculative history sources. I’m always a sucker for shows like that because it’s so interesting to wonder “what if?” But also reinforces the reason we should look everywhere around us for inspiration. Good luck with your #histfic! Can’t wait to see where you take your story. Sounds fascinating and fun!


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