Monday, March 8, 2021

Tools Of The Trade

 In 6his case, reference tools. that's our subject for the week, what is the one essential reference tool we simply cannot live without. 

One? Good heavens, that's a mall number. I can think of an easy dozen. first and foremost, the internet. Where would I be without google to send me do2wn a rabbit hole or twenty? The thing is, I research bloody near everything, except names. I just yank those out of the air. 

Back in the day, when I was writing for role0kayingGames and the 'Net wasn't quite s useful as it is today I'd spend a fortune on research books. I'm completely serious. It was over seven hundred dollars worth of books on the Old West before was satisfied that I had enough information.  I spent a fortune that was absolutely necessary because a lot of the esoteric information I needed to add in for authenticity simply wasn't available like it is these days. There weren't a million sites per subject, though I'll grant many of the sites available these days are hardly given to accuracy, they still exist to sort through. It's a bonus that you can use to your advantage if you are careful about the truths you seek and find. 

Her4's one for you. Stephen King's Danse Macabre. IT is, to my knowledge, the first non-fiction book that King ev4er wrote, and it is a hodgepodge of pop culture information autobiography and writing advice, all mixed into one very lengthy essay written as the sort of conversation you might have over beers with q writer at a convention. I absolutely love that book and have read it easily half a dozen times. I'm not likely to ever have beers with King at a convention doubly so because I don't drink, but the information I have gleaned from the book is absolutely priceless. The pop culture I refer to in this case is horror movies and horror books and the references made started me on my personal education regarding both subjects and expanded my very narrow horizons a great deal. Seeing as I started my writing in the horror genre, I needed my eyes opened. Seeing as Stephen ing is literally rags to riches story in the genre I was looking to step into, the book was also a wild ride into the territory of what could be done and what could not be done. Have I had Mister King's success? hell no, but I make a decent living most years. I get by. 

Reference tools vary greatly and depend heavily on what you are looking for. My v4ry favorite tool? The one I access m0re than any other? Talking with my peers. e share anecdotes, we take about what works for us and what doe not. We connect and learn from each other. 

But that's just me and your mileage may vary. I'd also recommend Strunk and White's Elements of Style. 

By the way, the images below are five of the books that my sevenu=hundred dollars in research helped make possible.