Monday, October 30, 2006

A Writer's Best and Worst Tool

Over the years, especially since 1998, I've become dependent on the internet. I read and send emails (hundreds a day as a lot of my paying job involves corresponding that way), read blogs, and research in the internet.

Though you have to be careful what information you use from the wide world web, you can find a website for almost everything. It's wonderful.

But as with all things, it has a bad side. Before you know it hours have passed and I've not written one productive word. I mean productive as in words in a manuscript. You know, as in completing a book.

With that said, let me give you some of my favorite sites.

Your Dictionary - 100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English.
This is so cool. I hadn't realized I pronounced most of these words correctly. I always worry about that. Stuttering as a child, especially for one that loved to talk, was rough and made me work hard on my pronunciation.
I'm editor of another chapter's newsletter and I've found this to be helpful. Plus occasionally I'll need it for a WIP. It's so much fun to see what you can come up with. For example, "Surfing on the Internet is like sex; everyone boasts about doing more than they actually do. But in the case of the Internet, it's a lot more." Tom Fasulo

I believe Deborah Matthews found this one for me. Only writers would get a kick out of finding out how a word came to being.

See what I mean. Such great info, but if you're not careful so much time can be eaten up by nothing.

What about you? Where do you like to hang out on the internet and important information?


Deborah Matthews said...

A lot of my wasted time is spent looking for minute information, such as titles and synopsis of Minerva Press novels. Besides my writing loops, I regularly read:

Mystery Writers Forum
Sorry, I don't know how to make the url into the title. This is really a neighborhood of people. Though most are writing mysteries, they don't look down upon other genres. There are several people in law enforcement, so they're always answering those type questions as well as discussing writing.

Miss Snark
Lots of good info.

Evil Editor
Who isn't so evil. Lot of good info on queries.

susanna in alabama said...

I've been immersed in the Internet since 1995. Fortunately I'm past the stage where I got anxious if I was away from an Internet connection! I still get sucked in, but it's so much fun.

I read several blogs, mostly writing or politics related. I read news sites. I read magazine sites. I research every little obscure thing and get off on weird tangents that sometimes turn serendipitous - like when I learned that Napolean may have lost at Waterloo in part because his physician lost his leeches! and couldn't doctor Napolean's hemorrhoids before the battle! How's that for a plot point?! Not that I've used it yet...

I like Mapquest or Yahoo! Maps to get distances between places and potential routes, when I'm writing about an area. Google Earth (,, and TerraServer USA ( all give you a bird's eye view (satellite photos) of an area so you can see the terrain. On one map I found my sister's house, to the point that I could identify cars in the driveway. Some of the images are several years old, though, so you have to be careful about relying on them for what buildings and things look like right now.

I love And I do lots and lots of shopping online too. But that doesn't get the book done :D.