Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: What Writers Need to Know

Christine Rimmer joins us for this week's Writer's Wednesday, and a fab post about getting the facts - and nothing but the facts, ma'am!

What do writers need to know? Well, the truth is that writers need to know a lot. Too much. I mean, I write stories intended to entertain, to make you laugh and cry and sigh. Stories meant to leave you feeling that love does conquer all and that good things happen to good people.


Some might think that since I write popular fiction, I don’t have to get my facts right.

Wrong—which I’m sure you already know. Facts do matter. When you’re asking a reader to go with you into the world of your story, you really have to be committed to getting that world right. Nothing jerks a reader out of a story as fast as some obviously checkable fact that’s not a fact at all.



Which is why I can’t even remember how I got along without the internet. I know, know. Much of the info online is suspect. Take Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Great stuff there. And yeah, I know that you have to keep in mind that anyone can add onto any page at any time. Yes, Wikipedia has people fact-checking constantly to be sure any given page hasn’t been maliciously falsified. But still…

You have to be careful out there.

I am. Pretty much. I try to check and cross-check any info I put in a book and call a fact. Still, I know stuff gets by me. Sorry, I do my best to get it right. But it’s the nature of the beast that now and then we stumble.

And even with the bad info out there and all the ways I have to be careful, well, I’m still in love with the things I can find out online. I have a sub folder in my Favorites folder devoted to Research and Reference. That folder has a hundred addresses of places online where I can find out stuff, all of it in no particular order. It should be better organized.

One of these days…hah!


And my Research and Reference folder isn’t the half of it. I have Image folders—links to pictures of potential heroes and heroines. Because we all need eye candy, right? Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a clear image of each character. And what’s in a name? A lot. I spend hours poring over lists of names that might fit not only my hero and his heroine, but also the others who populate their world.



Beyond that, every book I write gets a Favorites folder and then there are sub-folders within the main folder. For links to Settings and Flora and Fauna, for information about my hero or heroine’s profession, for things like how to kill someone with digoxin. (Snow White with witch and apple here) It’s all quite dizzying. here)



And wonderful!



And my very favorite research sites—I mean aside from the basics like Ask.com and Wikipedia and About.com?





The ones about time and the phases of the moon. I love this site: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html (Complete Sun and Moon Data for one day). You go there, you fill in the blanks, you can find out sunset and sunrise anyplace in the world on any given day. And the phases of the moon on that day. I love the whole moon phase thing. Sorry. Just do. It’s something I really need to know so my H/h can look up in the sky and see the moon as it really is in that place. On that day.

Weird? Maybe. But all writers have their weirdnesses and this is one of mine.


Love this one, too: http://www.timeanddate.com/.  Tells me the time and date—right now—anywhere in the world. I need to know that! I really, really do. You’d be surprised how many times my heroines have needed to phone a friend—or the hero—in some other country halfway round the world. Even heroes get crabby when you call them at two in the morning. So if my heroine needs to know what time to call, I know where to go to get that information for her.



And then there’s my friend, Betty Sanders. Betty’s a teacher, a counselor and a writer. She keeps a blog page that’s a…reference of reference sites, http://bettysanders.blogspot.com/. Everyone needs that.



What about you? Favorite info sites I should know about? Share, share!


Christine's latest release is MARRIAGE, BRAVO STYLE, out this month from Special Edition. She's also giving away a signed copy of her February release, DONOVAN’S CHILD! Just leave a comment to be entered for the draw, and check back to see if you're the winner! 

You can visit Christine's site at www.christinerimmer.com



6 comments:

  1. I can't think of any info sites I know about that you haven't mentioned.

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  2. The internet is great, isn't it? I use it, but I odn't believe it!

    pageturner345@gmail.com

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  3. hey, chey! I did list a bunch of them, didn't I?? LOL

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  4. pageturner, you're right! Lots of stuff represented as fact that isn't factual in the least.

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  5. Oh, and everyone, please forgive my weird typos in this post. I was trying to add the links and it came out...well, weird. Since I don't post to the blog myself, can't do a fix. Note to self: reformat links. ;)

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  6. Thanks for visiting. And...Chey wins! Congrats, Chey! Contact me at christine@christinerimmer.com to claim your book. :)

    ReplyDelete