I’ve also bookmarked several websites I refer to regularly. Online dictionaries and etymology sites. Surname origins. Top baby names by decade. Newspaper archives.
But if I had to name seven resources I wouldn’t want to be without, the list below would be pretty close to accurate.
The Chicago Manual of Style. If you’ve been hanging around Seekerville for very long, you’ve had a few encounters with Grammar Queen. Well, she lives inside my head, and she’s a stickler for correct grammar, punctuation, and word usage. So we keep CMS handy for when either of us needs to verify a rule (or make sure we’re safe to break it). I’m still using the 15th edition, but the 16th edition has been around for a few years. Maybe one of these days I’ll fork over the big bucks to buy the latest.
Google Maps. Since I can’t always travel to the places where my stories are set, Google Maps (especially the earth view) is my number-one tool. I can zoom in for a better look at the terrain, the street layout, where buildings are located, etc. There’s also a nifty bar that pops up at the bottom of my screen showing photographs others have uploaded of specific locations.
The Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook. If I had to choose only one name book, this would be the one. With sections for more than 30 different nationalities and ethnic groups, and each section divided by male and female, the book provides plenty of character naming inspiration. The front section also offers guidance on how to choose a name based on the story genre, timeframe, character’s personality, etc. While the lists are all for first names, many work just as well as surnames.
Time and Date. Whether I’m writing contemporary or historical, I always begin by creating an Excel calendar where I can track a timeline of story events, past, present, and future. The Time and Date website tells me when nationally recognized holidays occur and will even give me the monthly phases of the moon. It’s also great for calculating time differences in various parts of the world. Have fun exploring the site to see all the options at your fingertips!
The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit. I’ve described this handy tool in an earlier post, so I won’t go into further detail here, except to say it’s a great way to stir the creative juices and look at my plot and characters in new ways.
Bartleby.com. This online source of quotations is one of my top go-to references when I’m trying to come up with the perfect title for my work-in-progress. As ideas about the theme or tone of the story come together, I make a list of keywords and then plug them one at a time into the search bar. Skimming through the quotations that pop up, I look for any that fit the story and then see if I can tweak a phrase from the quote into a catchy title.
The Moral Premise. We’ve talked a lot about the Moral Premise here in Seekerville, and we’ve even had the author himself, Dr. Stanley Williams, share his expertise. Of all the books I’ve studied on the craft of writing, I’d have to say this one has had the strongest impact. It’s well worth reading and rereading!
What are the writing resources you wouldn’t want to do without? Share in the comments and add "ENTER ME" for a chance to win a hot-off-the-presses autographed copy of Every Tear a Memory, the third installment of my Till We Meet Again historical romance series from Abingdon Press!
Joanna found adventure in France as a volunteer with the Army Signal Corps, but she still mourns her doughboy sweetheart killed in battle. After her mother’s death, she returns home to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where her work as a hotel switchboard operator proves dull compared to her adventures overseas.
Joanna is surprised by the attention from successful hotel manager Thomas Ballard, whose practical nature starkly contrasts her own spontaneous spirit. Spending time with the affectionate and compassionate Thomas helps her broken heart begin to mend, yet Joanna wonders if she can learn to love someone so different from herself. Will their growing friendship lead to romance? Or will Joanna’s future be forever clouded by grief?
One lucky commenter on today's post
could win a free enrollment in
"Creating Characters that Come Alive"
Just add "Night Class Entry" to your comment!