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A Guide to English: Resources for Creative Writers

Making Fictional Worlds Real

With your poetic license in your back pocket you can bypass research, right? Not really. Sometimes you need check your facts for your fiction to work. Encountering something that is factually wrong can break the spell you've cast on your reader and throw them right out of the story. Besides, research can enrich your world-building and inspire you as you put your imagination to work.

Whether you are writing a literary novel, a poem, an essay, a book for young readers, or a multi-volume epic fantasy, your imaginary world sometimes needs an infusion of reality. What does this lonely stretch of highway in Arizona actually look like? Where could I find inspiration to jump-start this poem? What kind of treatment would my protagonist with PTSD get at a VA hospital? What kind of underwear did people wear back in the 1920s, because it needs to come off in this erotic scene. Try browsing photos using Google Images or Flickr, delving into historical publications using Google Books, or viewing locations with Google Earth. People can be a great resource, too. Be prepared to make some phone calls, set up visits, or conduct interviews. Check with a librarian if you have factual or context questions you are having trouble answering. 

These resources will help you think about ways your writing can find support - both as you create something new and as you navigate the writing business.


photo courtesy of Nic McPhee.

For Reference

Books About Writing

Keeping Up

Professional writers keep abreast of what's happening in the industry. Here are some websites that do just that. 

Be sure to also seek out writers organizations for the genre you're most interested in. Many of them provide some free information plus a wealth of resources and events for members. 

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