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Writer Wednesday: Useful Resources

It’s been a while since I addressed the Tips and Hints of how I get the most out of my writing, so I thought I’d do an updated version of the websites, tools and tips I use as an author.

DonJon ~ this is a generator website, which I use when I want unusual/alien/sci-fi/fantasy names. I might use these names for planets, people, species, or any variety of things. In the past, I’ve used this generator to find the names for various books, but the most notable being Surviving Vihaan, where everything from the word Vihaan, the names of the species, regions, and some character names, came from one of these generators. Sometimes the exact name, sometimes it inspired an accidental mis-spelling that worked in my favour, or I needed to change around a few letters to what suited me.

TimeandDate ~ this is an incredible website that I use for a lot of things. For example, my historical series – Royal, or The Changeling – were both based on real life mixed with fantasy elements. Sometimes I’d use this website to check for moon cycles, holidays, or weather for historical dates, to provide a little accuracy in amongst the fantasy. Or, I create a calendar for the year(s) I need my book to revolve around, so that if I want to use a specific date – for example Jan 4th 1900 – then I know that it was a Thursday, and there was a full moon on the 1st of January. I can even download the calendar, to keep on my laptop in a folder I use for that book. The calendar can be made for various countries and years, so while The Changeling takes place in the past, the Royal series took place in the future. I can check world clocks, to see time zones and time differences, like when I had a character in Paper Love travelling the world, but keeping in touch with a boyfriend in the UK.

AccuWeather ~ this website follows on from the above, but focuses on getting weather patterns and real weather reports from dates in the past.

Google ~ it seems obvious, but Google is your friend. For this one, I mean for conversions. Simply type in “convert $ to £” and a handy converter appears with the most up-to-date currency exchange. Type in “convert in to cm” or “convert kg to stones” and Google will give you a converter to suit your needs. As I’m not good with numbers – I have dyscalculia – I find these converters priceless.

WheresTheMatch ~ as an MM author, I sometimes have my characters playing sports in my books. However, I’m not an avid sports fan at all, though I can watch rugby or golf without falling asleep. You may think this weird, but this website tells you when a variety of sports are on UK TV, when and what channel. Why would this help me? Well, every novel relies on the small details for authenticity, and a contemporary novel can include something as simple as “watching X game on Y channel at Z hour” if the timing is important to your novel’s timeline. It’s also a handy guide for what teams play who, whether a game is available to watch online or Live on TV. It’s the small details that count, and this website helps with that.

  • NOTE: I pulled the following list directly from a post from 2019, because I still use the websites regularly, and they really are very useful for being accurate with your writing.

📌 Websites I’ve used in the past, for various books:

  • Animal sounds : this may be Wikipedia, but it lets you *listen* to the sounds, so that you can make your own judgement on how to write about it, which I think is awesome.
  • British Sign Language : this site not only has visual tips, but it also provides a helpful Video Dictionary, where you can look up nearly any word and see someone actually signing the word. This was an invaluable resource when writing Paper Love.
  • How Stuff Works : endless possibilities, and an extremely handy resource to keep on bookmark.
  • American Sign Language : the first 100 signs that a person learning ASL should know.
  • Types of Killing : this may be Wikipedia, but it is a helpful list – all in one place – of the various names for killing methods. Great for writing thrillers/crime books and being accurate. You can research further, once you know the name of the type you want to use.
  • List of Fairytales : similar to above, this is Wikipedia, but it is just a stop-gap between you finding the right fairytale to research. It’s a comprehensive list, all in one place, that you can use to find your way.
  • Brain Aneurysms : this seems like an odd one, but I’ve included it to show that, if you Google a term, sometimes you can find a website entirely dedicated to that thing.
  • Names of Satan : this website came in particularly handy when writing my Cacodemon trilogy, where Satan played a major role.
  • Hidden Sexualities : this list was EVERYTHING to me, when I wrote The Bright Side Brigade. I wanted to have a YA novel that showcased more than just gay/straight/bi sexualities. I wanted to show that there were a broad scope of grey areas, even within a sexuality, and this website helped me figure out how to do that.

📌 You can find further posts with helpful websites in the archives:

Handy Websites: Photo Edition
Words from the 1920s
Research from Home
Do Your Research

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