Blog Hopping, Critical resources

Welcome back to another BlogHop, with#OpenBook. Read on for this week’s prompt.

What are the most important resources for writers? (Magazines, books, websites, etc.)

I must confess to being somewhat confused. Clearly there are some important writers resources missing from the prompt. How about that most vital of resources, coffee? Not forgetting the ability to listen to two (or more) conversations at once?

Personally, I consider research to be the most important part of my writing. When it comes to resources for research, the internet is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, I wonder how authors ever managed without it.

When used with caution it can lead you on an incredible journey of discovery through the thick jungle of knowledge.

I’ve said it before, Isaac Asimov says it so much better.

To make my research as accurate as possible,

I read a lot. Not just websites, I subscribe to science magazines, and I’m always scanning the shelves in newsagents, to see what catches my eye. If I spot something that gives me an idea, whether it’s for a plot, a setting or just a few lines of dialogue, I’ll buy the publication and read it. Next, I’ll go off and search the web, follow links, just to see where it leads me and how much I can find out. Because, if I’ve discovered one thing; it’s that you can’t write about the future or even an alternative now, without a basis in the facts of today.

I keep an eye on news services, science websites, gossip columns. I’ll look at just about any sort of material for ideas. It doesn’t have to be specifically Sci-fi or Steampunk either, inspiration can strike from any direction.

I’m also a compulsive people watcher (and listener). It’s the best source of realistic conversation, as well as a place where you can pick up even more plot ideas. You can also watch peoples behaviour and how they interact with each other. It all helps when you’re writing dialogue or justifying the motivation of your characters.

The best thing about such overheard snippets is that (no matter how fantastic they sound) they are more than likely to have an element of truth in them.

A lot of (what I think is) my best work has come from overheard comments. In fact, my next novel (and part one of a new series) came from just such a place; a chance remark that I overheard. It was only a few words but it gave me an idea. Eighteen months and 105,000 words later, the first novel is finished, I’m on the second story and it’s still developing.

The story that sparked into life by this comment is not set on some futuristic planet, thousands of years in the future. It takes place in a world very like one that we have known, a Victorian land of innovation; a world of steam and clockwork. With their society on the cusp of technological advance, a group of orphans are all that stands between a madman bent on world domination and civilisation as they know it.

If only I knew who I was listening to, I’m pretty sure they would be surprised to find what they’ve started. By the time the idea had formed in my head, we were miles apart. All I can do is be grateful that I was in the right place at the right time and mention the serendipity of it all in my dedication.

As usual, I’ve managed to digress. My point is that resources can come in unconventional guises. As well as reading, it’s important to watch and listen to the world around you.

I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week’s thoughts, please leave a comment below. Then go and check out the rest of the great blogs on the hop. Just follow this link.


6 Responses

  1. Lela Markham

    Oh, the things you can learn listening to conversations in a diner! And the conspiracy theories you can glom onto looking at the tabloid covers in the grocery line!

    • Richard Dee

      Exactly, I have a small notebook which I use to jot down interesting things. But be careful, once they know you’re listening, they shut up!!!

        • Richard Dee

          Very true, and perhaps safer (dependant on content and how interested you might appear).

  2. Roberta Eaton Cheadle

    Yes, you are absolutely right, Richard. You learn a lot from other people around you. A great post. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2020.

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks for commenting, here’s to many more overheard gems!!! All best wishes for Christmas and New Year to you.

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