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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some More Useful Stuff For Writers

While checking out my bookmarks, I came back to a great web site called Writers' Resources. This particular one is for the benefit of historical novelists, but if you, like me, write fantasy set in historical-type/mediaeval societies, it's also a treasure trove, with its links to some great sites that can help you look up everything from old terms for diseases to names.

And names are important. You really can't afford to stuff them up. Not long ago, I got a request for a review of a book which starts in Salem during the witch trials and has a character with that well-known Pilgrim name Natasha. I am a kind person, plus I can't bring myself to read a book which puts me off in the blurb, so I said no. There was plenty more in that blurb that suggested the author hadn't done much, if any, historical research.

Check out this entertaining article on the subject of naming, Name That Character! Or try this one: 8 Tips For Naming Your Characters.

If you're thinking of writing crime fiction there are plenty of forensics web sites, but never underestimate the power of general encyclopaedias such as Here's an article about crime scene insects. I suspect if I ever write crime fiction it's going to be a cosy, but you may be planning a thriller.

One of my favourite research web sites, which I share with my students, is How Stuff Works. It sounds like a technical web site, but there's a lot more. It's a sort of encyclopaedia of everything. Right now, there's an item on"how mistletoe works" with the historical background and one on Santa's elves.

Good luck with your research!

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