I was with some friends talking about the hurricane in one of the chapters of ‘Other.’ I told them I watched YouTube vids of Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, and some of the other ‘big’ ones. They helped me ‘know’ what it would be like for my character to be caught in one. I had forgotten about swinging traffic lights until I saw them in one of the vids.
They were astounded. They'd never thought of using YouTube to ‘understand’ how an event would feel or sound like. Or what effect it would have on their characters.
I am going to be writing a sandstorm scene in the next chapter of ‘Other.’ Of course, I’m going to surf YouTube to ‘experience’ this kind of event for myself. I know it will help in the writing.
In ‘Blue,’ because the colors of the world have been changed, I used a color wheel website to add depth to the color choices. I didn’t want to use only primary colors. It was a great help.
So please, use the internet for all its worth. There are so many things there to help us writers.
http://www.youtube.com/ - to experience anything that has happened in the past whatever years.
http://thesaurus.com/ - I keep this open at all times. It’s the best way to make sure my verbs are active – jumping over each other. *g*
http://dictionary.reference.com/ - Nuf said.
http://www.etymonline.com/ - the origin of words (this is most helpful if you’re writing anything that’s not today. For instance, I was going to use the word ‘morphed’ and checked it against this site. Morphed was first used in 1995. If I’m writing about any time before 1995, I’ve blown it. I’ve taken a knowledgeable reader right out of the story!
http://www.howdini.com/ - ‘how to’s to help with anything I don’t know.
http://www.wikipedia.org/ - mostly excellent resource for things that I don’t know. Like the titles that are used for the monarchy in most lands. Or the hierarchy of the military. Just about anything I don’t know, I can find here. I just have to take it with a grain of salt. In fact, I do more than that. I research the same thing elsewhere using Google search, to make sure the entry in Wiki is correct.
Enough links for today. You get the gist. The internet is an excellent resource for writers. Of course, if you don’t think research is important to your writing, then, never mind.
Life is knowledge.