We often grumble about how much time we fritter away surfing the internet or reading blogs (yes, like this one). Our minds are distracted, lured by words and pictures meaningful to us. We click on news feeds, writerly sites and online bookstores. Is this wasted time or research? A little of both, I suspect.
For me, these tangents have inspired more than one story idea or plot twist. As I write this, my inbox shows ten emails from myself, chock full of gems forwarded from news apps or Twitter feeds.
I find the BBC News feed fascinating. In addition to the expected categories, Top News, Business, The World, they run a Features and Analysis section with essays and articles on literature or cultures or lifestyles. Especially enlightening is the “10 things we didn’t know last week” column.
Maybe you’re writing historical fiction set in fifteenth-century Britain and come across this:
“Richard III buried in hastily dug untidy grave." Hmmm, a story from the gravedigger's perspective sounds good to me!
|Richard III - credit The Independent|
I'm a newbie to Twitter, but follow a few groups, such as Random House, LittleBrown, NY Review of Books, Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.
Looking for the best new books from PW?
How about an inspiring story about a Walmart employee in California who found a spiral-bound notebook containing almost two hundred handwritten rules in the parking lot. He decided to track down its owner after reading rule no. 154: “Protect this rule book.” Now Simon & Schuster is publishing the book, written by ten-year-old Isabelle Busath and eight-year-old Isabella Thordsen.
For all things literary, visit Literary Traveler. The top ribbon offers Articles, Tours, Travel, Gear, Hotels and, of course, Books. How about a tour of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset? Or a stay at this cool hotel?
You might want to learn about (or visit) Britain’s The George, a famous literary pub that may or may not have served Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens.
Or read the review of author Pete Brown's Shakespeare’s Pub: A Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub—The George Inn (St. Martin’s Press).
Interested in H.G. Wells, spacetime, cosmic clocks, and timeless truths? Although I’m not a big sci-fi reader, time travel has always fascinated me (Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife anyone?). Perhaps if you’re going to tackle this in your plot, you might want to read a new book by theoretical physicist Lee Smolin about time and space: Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Writer’s Digest runs a column “Seven things I’ve learned so far,” featuring guest authors. And I always learn something from author Brian Klems’ The Writer’s Dig.
And this post on writing historical fiction is a must-read for anyone about to embark on writing in that genre. The essayist is the Susan Sherman, author of The Little Russian, a book that I can’t wait to read.
What online treats have you found? Please share!