On day 24 Supposed Crimes 30-day Challenge asks: What are some of your favorite writing resources?
I’m a basics-only writer. I keep a dictionary and thesaurus close at hand (though I don’t often need to go into them). I bookmark research pages and write notes into a summary file or character guide.
For the story itself I use a word-processing app like LibreOffice (open source, free) or Google Docs, and create folders for character details and plot summaries and the actually WIP file. I don’t separate the story into separate files for every chapter as I’ll often fluidly decide something needs to be moved to the next/previous chapter and just move the chapter header. LOL
I use notes/comments features liberally, a hold over from writing in the margins when I used pen and paper. My writing process has only become “technified” rather than changed by the advent of technology.
I did try a few storyboard-style apps over the years, but found I write linearly anyway, so it’s just unnecessary segmentation. Also following the final “download” or “convert” step I was frequently cleaning up the file’s layout and look anyway. Too much unnecessary work.
I just start with the default font and layout. Keeping it simple and direct like that keeps my head on the writing, until the story is done. During editing I’ll mess with font, layout, and styles. For working with a beta reader or editor, I like Google Docs best. The live chat for discussing things is perfect.
Here are some of my favorite places for research though:
- Names – I want to work from a character’s parents’ point of view — even if the person changes it as an adult, it often gives me a glimpse onto their family dynamics, which is important for character building. So I need the origin, meaning, and ethnicity of a name. I also consider alternate spellings and diminutives. When I’m naming a character from their point of view (chosen for one reason or another), I do the same thing considering their personality and popular culture at the time of their name choice.
- Google Maps Street View – perfect for getting a handle on a real setting. I have also remapped sections to flesh out a fictional setting.
- Period Images – helps with anything I want to create historically.
- I will also peruse canstockphoto, Shutterstock, and DepositPhotos when looking for visual inspiration.