Friday Links for Writers 03.14.14: Quirky Research Sources for Writers


Dublin from World Bar. c Elissa Field.

Dublin from World Bar. c Elissa Field.

Each week in Friday Links for Writers, I share links to resources I’ve found useful in the previous week, related to writing, editing and publishing.  This week’s Friday Links may become a special thread within the ongoing column, as I’ve stumbled across a handful of quirky sources in recent weeks. 

Readers researching a thriller may find a few of these links helpful, while others may like a couple historical resources. Considering the Irish setting of my WIP, the first 2 sources give a cheery nod to St. Patrick’s weekend. Less cheery but also linked to my own research, is the Committee for Protection of Journalists: sober tracking of dangers for journalists around the globe.

As always with Friday Links, let me know which links you find most interesting or ones you’d like to see more of.  Have you stumbled across a quirky info source of your own?  Feel free to add your own links in the comments.  Have a great writing week!

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What Do Ireland’s County Names Mean?

Writer and historian Elizabeth Saunders shared this article with an awesome list and map providing the names and history of Ireland’s counties. Elizabeth always impresses me with her diligent research into genealogy and history about Quakers and Irish descent — check out her blog for more.

Irish Insults Translated into English

Let’s have a contest: how many times do you have to play this vid before you can actually hear clearly the words spoken by the native Irish? It’s an entertaining demonstration of Irish wit and sharp tongues, with the brief English translation onscreen, courtesy of the Irish Journal’s Daily Edge.

A Tour of the British Isles in Accents

Irish, forgive me for shifting from the ole sod to GB, but another great link:  Writing about the British Isles?  No?  You still have to check out this short audio clip from the BBC that takes you on a tour of various regions by accent.  Useful for training your writerly ear, and entertaining to boot.

How Sherlock Changed the World

Write mystery or crime thrillers? As one with a familiarity with forensics and respect for the longstanding traditions in mystery writing, I thought this PBS special was a great perspective on the extent to which Sherlock Holmes both inspired and accurately reflects the true practices of forensic science.

Top 10 Handguns

Admit it. Your character plans to off somebody.  This list is not the end-all (in fact, you’re better off with one of those illustrated encyclopedias of guns frequently on offer in the Barnes & Noble “bargain books” section), but this list is a quick illustrated summary of common handguns in the world. (This link has been disabled.)

How Far Could You Get From New York Back in the Day?

Anyone setting a story in the northeast in a prior era might find this graphic and article by David Yanofsky interesting, as it maps the distance a traveler could cover in a single day in bands from 1800 to 1934.

ChronoZoom

Another intriguing tool for anyone writing in a prior era is this tool created for educators to explore historical events in perspective. Caveat: I haven’t tried this one, but a review of the resource on Edutopia (a respected site for educators) said the program is meant to be an expandable timeline of all of history. If you try it out, let us know how it works for you.

Committee to Protect Journalists

This has been my central resource for tracking journalists killed or missing while covering stories overseas, and is a resource for international dangers to journalists around the globe.

Native Tree Species – Carolinian Region

In the next edition of Quirky Research Sources for Writers, I’ll share links for naming native birds. One thing it’s easy to tune out on in writing setting is the names of local plant or animal life. This is one source I found for names of regional trees. For more details of trees, check out Arbor Day Foundation – Browse Trees.

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What About You?

The links here reveal some of the writing priorities (or at least curiosities) that have come up in my recent writing.  What kinds of research sources do you find yourself using?  Or, what kind of information do you wish were available?  Do you wonder about accurate clothing for a lost era or the sounds of television commercials that would have played in 1978?  Or do you have a great research source to share?

Whatever your writing goals this week, best wishes to you!

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Watching for snow - perfect time for a great read. c. Elissa Field

Watching for snow – perfect time for a great read. c. Elissa Field

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6 Comments

Filed under Friday Links, Research

6 responses to “Friday Links for Writers 03.14.14: Quirky Research Sources for Writers

  1. I agonize over story details, so resources like these are great. Wait…how do you know which books I browse at Barnes & Noble? ;-)

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    • elissa field

      Beth. I’m the same about researching. I actually think internet research yielded more authentic results a couple years ago – now, Bing & Google feed so many commercial or blog sites before listing actual expertise (like, now you get all blogs, Wikipedia and Amazon where searches used to pull up primary sources first – maybe that’s me), so I get that much more excited to find good (even quirky) resources.

      It’s good to see you here – thanks for commenting and I hope all goes well with your work. :)

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  2. Pingback: Top Picks Thursday 03-20-2014 | The Author Chronicles

  3. I wonder whether anyone else had this experience: when attempting to click to the “top ten handguns” link I was deluged with messages that my phone had been infected “when I visited adult-content sites”? Yikes!

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    • elissa field

      Anne, thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve accessed the site several times and other users have, too, without any reported issues. Norton scans it as a “safe” page (I always scan links before sharing). Still, I’ll disable the link.

      And I’m also off to check out your site. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  4. Pingback: Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the Interwebz Mar 16-22, 2014 | Writerly Goodness

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