Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Fives with Paper Hangover

I've had my head dunked so deeply in my MS for the last few weeks that I have been selfish about doing anything else but work, family, and writing. 

Not a bad thing, but because of this, I've been spacing out on participating in the Friday Fives!

It's time to get back with it. 

This week's Friday Fives with Paper Hangover! 

What are your FIVE favorite research tools or resources?

1. The interwebs, of course, tops the list. I remember doing research back in the day when it required a trip to the library, and PICKING UP ACTUAL BOOKS or [HORROR!] using a microfiche machine. 

It's not like walking uphill to school both ways in the snow, but it still makes me feel old to realize how things have changed. 

The internet makes research amazingly easy and FUN. For example, in research this week I watched videos on weaving using handmade looms, which was freaking awesome. 

2. The Dangerous Book for Boys* is on my shelf, and I love to thumb through it for information on the night sky, codes, strategies used in famous battles, killing and cleaning prey, and any number of cool stuff. I pretended to buy this for my sons, but it was really for me. 

3. Field Guides. Depending on the book (more so with THE INSECT COLLECTOR and SWAMPED than THIRST) I use a lot of field guides. My shelf is crammed with National Audubon's Southeastern States, Trees, and Insects and Spiders, National Geographic's Birds of North America, and Peterson's Reptiles and Amphibians and Mammals

Though I've spent time collecting all of these things due to various jobs, I still need to check out range, seasonality, and get specifics on length and markings. 

4. Fiction. I try to use every reading opportunity to revel in the wonder, craft, and magic of other writers. 

When else does something so satisfying count as "homework"?

5. BETA reading. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn with every BETA read. I think it's "officially" putting on one's editorial cap that gives insight (that and being a little more removed from the story than we are from our own precious angels). 

What resources and tools do you use? Visit Paper Hangover and join in the fun!

*I remain unhappy that they classify this as "for boys". What is this, 1875? Girls like dangerous too, authors, don't pretend to know what that is. The "sister" book {i know} is called the Daring book for Girls. To be honest, I have not read it, because it seems to be about jump rope games etc. In their defense, I sent it to my nieces and they liked it, but I am still {obviously} stewing over this. 


  1. Ooh, great resources! The Dangerous Book for Boys sounds really cool... can I buy it even though I'm a girl? :)

  2. "The Daring Book for Girls" sounds kind of weak next to "The Dangerous Book for Boys" ... my feminist radar is going nuts. I think I need to read both of them ;-)

    I'd forgotten all about microfiche. Those of us who used those old machines now have our own version of, "Back in my day ..." with a story of something that seems so clunky and useless. Strange ...

  3. The dangerous book for boys. I need to check that out.

  4. Agreed, the DANGEROUS/DARING books sound fantastic! I have a soft spot for field guides, too. Great resources!

  5. The Dangerous Book for Boys sounds like a trip to my dad's house. lol Great list!!

  6. Favorite research tools

    1. The Chicago Manual of Style (I'm proofreading right now.)

    2. Grammar Girl

    3. Movies--good ones get my creative juices going.

    4. Books outside my normal genres--they help me see unexpected ways that I can improve my own writing.

    5. Wikipedia. I know everyone disses it. But it's great place to start when researching.

  7. Good resources. I have a few field guides on my writing shelf. My dad gave them to my sibs and I as gifts one year. My sibs gave me theirs because they don't use them.

  8. Fiction is a WONDERFUL resource, especially for historical writers. I can read all the nonfiction and history books I can find, but I always always pick up more of the little details reading fiction centering on the same time period.

  9. Yes Katy- for sure!!

    So true KLo, I totally agree.

    I totally recommend it Angela.

    Thanks Rebecca- field guides rule.

    So funny Holly- also reminds me of family in S Ga. Down there, squirrels are food. I actually sent it to my Dad (who is pushing 70) and he loved it.

    Great list Connie-- and I totally use Wikipedia, too. It's quick and easy!

    Carrie- their loss, totally your gain!!

    So true Meredith! I didn't even think about the particular relevance for historicals. Great point.

  10. Ooh, I'll have to check out the dangerous book for boys. maybe the library has it.

  11. I forgot to mention reading fiction! That's definitely a good one and one I use frequently.

  12. I saw that book (Dangerous Book for Boys) on the shelf at B/N, and almost grabbed it. Now we will go back.

  13. What's a microfiche machine? :S And The Dangerous Book For Boys IS super-cool! Wow, field guides that's an intriguing side to writing. I suppose if you write about wildlife they'd be extremely helpful! :D

  14. I haven't had to do too much research so far -- well okay, I left the research to fill in after the first draft when I'd know exactly what I needed to find out -- but I'm with you on the internet (google and youtube) and non-fiction and fiction books. I wouldn't mind research of the class-taking and travelling variety either.

  15. Twitter's also a big research option for me -- it's amazing how many people can answer my questions! I've been meaning to get my hands on a copy of the DBFB for a while. I must get onto that!

  16. I love that you bought The Dangerous Book for Boys 'for your children.' hehheh, I just bought The Big Book of Knowledge 'for my son' :-)

  17. Field guides are awesome inspiration. Good choice.


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