This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Friday, January 12, 2007

With a Little Help from My (Online and Offline) Friends... ;-)

I thought I should share a few online resources I've come to appreciate. Maybe you'll find them handy, too.

I truly enjoy the Dictionary.com site. It has a lot of wonderful features including the direct tab to Thesaurus.com . Although I generally hesitate to use either as my only source of words (I have a well-worn Roget's Thesaurus and a sturdy Websters Dictionary outside of "computer land--Not to mention my Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology-- I LOVE it!--Get one!) , it is a handy online resource. I often open it behind my manuscript and if I find repetition or something problematic, I consider new options.

I mentioned Barnhart's--It is tremendous. I would recommend it to any writer or lover of languages. I gave one as a gift to my German hostess and she thoroughly enjoys it as well. So there, get one and enjoy!

One of my favorite things is a good "visual dictionary." I use the "ultimate" DK one (it's in color). They have one out in 2007 and mine's a 1994, so chcek your options. When you're trying to describe some odd detail that you know has got to have a name--This is a great place to go.

If you do paranormal romance or fantasy writing, check out Monstropedia.

I love BehindTheName.com to get me going with character names. It's a pretty comprehensive list organized by region/country or gender. Check it out--it's very neat, but may make you compulsively visit ;-)

If you like Scotland (and who doesn't?), try the following sites:
Historic Scotland... Includes locations they are preserving, artifacts in their collections and events that you might enjoy.

There's also Scotland History... It includes summaries and suggested reading choices.

The BBC's Scottish History site is also neat. It includes a "Media Museum," games and "Historical Oddities."

I've spent a bunch of time at Rampant Scotland, too. It's a huge link list to multiple Scottish-related topics.

Electric Scotland... This one has a lot of great resources all nested in its links at the top of the page. If you can't find it elsewhere, you can probably find a link to it here ;-)

Visit Scotland... This is the Tourism Board's site, but it's fun to hop through and find summaries from their perspective.

These are obviously not the only resources a writer should explore when doing a novel like my "Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills," but they are the ones that jump to mind first.

And, I would be remiss if i failed to mention this wonderful resource--
Tam Lin Balladry . It is hands-down the best site on my particular topic. It includes multiple instances of the ballad and nearly everything about it!

And, if you're looking for something tribally Scottish to get the mojo going...Try Clann an Drumma's site or the portion of the group that split away--Albannach. I'd really only suggest them (if you're writing) for horse chase scenes, fights or brawls or fierce lovemaking scenes. They are mainly percussive (and some bagpipe) with few vocals. Gets the blood pumping, though.

What resources have you, as writers, found most handy?
~Saoirse

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