Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Writer's Wednesday: What Writers Need to Know
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.
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.
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.
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.
And my very favorite research sites—I mean aside from the basics like Ask.com and Wikipedia and About.com?
Weird? Maybe. But all writers have their weirdnesses and this is one of mine.
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.
You can visit Christine's site at www.christinerimmer.com