Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Handiest dandy writing resources

This week, we're talking about the one writer's resource we consult most often. The topic isn't picky about whether we're to give a research reference, a craft reference, or an inspiration reference. So I'll cheat and give one of each.

For sciency research, I get loads of good info -- mixed with charming fanboy glee -- in the assorted popular science works of Michio Kaku. Yes, you've probably seen him on non-serious shows like Ancient Aliens, and yes, he can be, um, sometimes too enthusiastic. But also, he's an accomplished theoretical physicist, plus in high school he built a particle accelerator in his mom's garage. That is exactly the kind of energy I'm going for in my fiction.

For inspiration, I'm going to double-cheat and give two: the DARPA web site and the daily newsletter from Atlas Obscura. The former can spark thoughts of where we're going, and the latter amazes with stuff that's been right here all along.

For craft... well, you know, the thing about craft books is that after you read them a half dozen times and internalize their information, you might not refer to them as often later on. And sometimes you might, er, forget which pieces come from which book/workshop/theorist. For instance, is this a pinch point, is it a black moment, or is all lost? All kind of the same in my brain. So I'll just recommend my personal favorite, Brooks Vogler Hague Cron Snyder's Generic Story Structure That Always Works. Or you could save time and peruse Jami Gold's web site, specifically the section for writers. It's loaded with goodies, including beat sheets, spreadsheets, how-to articles, and Scrivener templates.

Now, are there resources that I refer to almost as often as these? Oh yes. SO many. I don't think it's possible to write fiction without casting your net broadly for bits and pieces you can use to build your world and story. I take a relationship dynamic from a television drama, a magic system element from my kid's science class, and a plot twist from Shakespeare, squish em all up like dough, and bake the hell out of the resultant lump. 

Your process is most likely better.

1 comment:

  1. No. No, my process is decidedly not better and frankly looks like less fun than this. I *love* Atlas Obscura so much.