Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aspiring Advice: Useful Internet Tools

Today, The Cosmic Laire celebrates its 100th post!
This weeks advice isn't necessarily advice, but rather a few helpful pointers or resources that I've discovered that could help to benefit your writing. The first and most obvious choice for writers and people in general who want to find something is Google! Keep in mind that search engines may not bring up what you're looking for (and they may bring things up that you never wanted to look up). I tend to use Google to find suiting landscapes or objects that I'd like to use in a scene, or look up information on details that I want to expound on. If you write Historical Fiction, Google and Wikipedia are NOT your friends. They can be used to help you explore, but their historical accuracy is highly questionable. The library is a better resource. However, if you're looking up information on, say, the breed of a particular dog to be used as a background image, just for color, then by all means, Google away. The same can be said for learning the basis of sewing or how watermills work.

There are a few sites out there that you may want to visit. I frequent these on a regular basis when in the drafting process. Don't worry. I won't trick you:
Your Dictionary:

And, by happy accident, I found a free, clean software that allows you to look up the definition and synonyms of any word on the screen, whether it's on the Internet or in a document. Any word. This has proven helpful as I tend to use the wrong word at times. Once installed, all you do is place your cursor over the word in question, press (Ctrl+Right Click) and a mini window pops up, giving you lots of information and suitable alternatives.
This free software can be found here:

Be forewarned. There are such things out there called "writing software." I wouldn't go there. Most of them cost money, the free ones are iffy, and if you rely on it too much, your writing can get sloppy. In other words, try to learn how to spell the words that you use a lot but misspell often, as not to rely on a spell checker. Learn to master the language you are writing with. It's an important process that I still do--must do--every day.

Thanks for clicking in. I hope this information was helpful to you as it has been for me. If anyone happens to know of further resources and sites that have helped with your writing, feel free to link them in the comments section. I'm always eager to find new tools of the trade.

I'm David, and my lamp needs less wattage!

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