Saturday, July 28, 2012

Writers Round Table


What is one of your favorite resources for research?

Cate Masters:  I’d love to be able to visit every setting in my stories! Unfortunately I can’t, so I mainly rely on either the library or the Internet, but I love to come across books specific to my needs that I’ll keep on my shelf for reference. For instance, I’ve relied on The Dictionary of Angels to supply not only names but background information for the angels in my Christmas fantasy, Ground Rules, and my dark paranormal, Dancing With the Devil. When I was lucky enough to visit Key West, Florida, I bought about six books about the local area because the history intrigued me so much, and I spent a few days in the library there while my family went parasailing and snorkeling. They had a fun time, but I felt like I found a lost treasure chest!
For more about Cate visit her blog: Cate Masters: http://catemasters.blogspot.com


Regina Duke:   I love Google and Wikipedia.
This sounds simplistic, but as a career academic (retired), it is such a joy to be able to type in a question and see a variety of answers. Some of the informants may not know exactly what they are talking about, but after perusing several sites with information, I can glean a huge amount of information without leaving my writing space.
Unlike the research I had to do for academic books. Every source had to be paper published (although this is changing), either a monograph or a journal article (refereed, of course). And the topics were very dry as well. Instead of reading foreign language articles about the ergative marker (linguistics), I can type in “What do bounty hunters really do?” or “What are buckyballs?” and spend half a day reading the fun stuff! LOL!
For more about Regina Duke visit her at http://www.reginaduke.com

Mariposa Cruz:  My favorite starting point for research is the children’s section of the library.  Children’s books are designed to be user friendly—I’ve found them to be a quick source for concise information.  Another wonderful resource is The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves and Other Monsters by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, a compendium of paranormal from folklore to pop culture.  My only complaint is that I have a hard time putting it down!

17 comments:

  1. Cate, The Dictionary of Angels sounds like a great resource and finding the right resources is like finding a treasure trove.

    Regina,
    Research for romance can lead you on some interesting journeys and best of all no footnotes required! Thanks for joining us today ladies!

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    1. Thanks for letting me share! I love living in the 21st century. I can even do research on my iPhone! It's like living in the Star Trek universe.

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  2. Great post, ladies!

    While I love the library, I have to admit, if you need something quick and dirty, Wikipedia and Google are great sources. Nothing like doing research while sitting in your chair! (Also: some questions are probably best not asked in the library. I can pretend that Google doesn't judge--just don't view my search history!)

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    1. Meggan, I know what you mean about the library! One too many questions about methods for murdering someone that cannot be detected, and people start to look at you funny! LOL

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  3. Meggan,
    Yes, Wikipedia and Google are handy for quick and dirty research (and sometimes we have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty) but the journey is always interesting. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Now I have to Google "What are buckyballs" Regina! lol I get carried away with research too. I love it.

    Oo, Mariposa, that sounds like a very cool book. Now I want it! There's also a steampunk encyclopedia that's on my Amazon wish list. Someday I'd love to try that genre.

    Thanks for including me in the roundtable, Mariposa!

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  5. Good morning, ladies! Cate, I'm so glad I piqued your curiosity. lol
    The buckyballs research was done during the writing of a science fiction novel that will (hopefully) go live this year.

    Thanks for letting me share my research preferences, Mariposa. I read my entry and thought, Wow, I sound just like a dry, stilted academic! That will teach me NOT to start a paragraph with my brain rooted in my pre-writing career. :-)

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  6. For me [after the internet] it's the interlibrary loan system here, where you can request just about anything. Really efficient and also free.

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    1. Maddy, I agree. Let's not forget the traditional routes! Sometimes it is just more efficient to order through interlibrary loan, especially when a great deal of info is needed. I go through reams of paper printing out computer screens. LOL

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  7. They both sound like great books, ladies!

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    1. Thank you, Helen! And thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry i didn't reply sooner. I had to scoot off to a craft painting class yesterday. Great fun! But OMG we painted for six hours. LOL

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  8. Another wikipedia junkie here. At least for a starting point. Remember the good old days in the dusty stacks of a college library? You gotta love the convenience of online research.

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    1. LOL! Oh, yes! In fact, I look back at my undergrad days when the library was where you went only to write your papers, and I have to laugh! I then spent my entire career lurking in the stacks of an academic library.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jannine!

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  9. I love to browse a library, too, but it is so easy to use the internet. Going to a place is definitely the best way of writing about it but not possible to visit everywhere...*sigh*

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    1. So true, Nancy. One of the delights of the internet is to be able to view the interiors of buildings. OMG! This helps my settings so much. :-)

      And nowadays, when I do find myself in a library, what do I do? Log on to the bank of public computers. *sigh* Okay, I have officially entered the 21st century. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. SInce I focus on medieval, I have gathered my own personal library collection. I also use the Medieval Sourcebook (the site has great links), the British Royal Family's site (also good links), and Wikipedia (be careful to verify the facts on this site). For my San Varlin (Public Safety, most of what I write is based upon persoanl knowledge, with occasional help from law enforcement , EMS, and firefighting sites. I gather my hockey information from official and other fan-based web sites & The Hockey News magazine.

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  11. Diana,
    Your blog covers a broad span of topics--all well researched. For those authors who want to venture into new territory having a good starting point for research can move the project forward instead of going in circles. Thanks for sharing your favorite resources!

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