Tag Archives: resources

Looking for Science News

One of the things I need to do for the new science channel is to keep reading science news. I would like to do a weekly video on science news featuring a few stories from various fields of science. They will be brief, meant as more of a summary of the science news. I will do additional videos about news stories that’ll take a closer look at the news and may or may not be included in the weekly news video.

One of the first stories I will talk about is TRAPPIST-1, which I’ve already talked about on this blog. But where will I find the news? Of course, I’ll keep watching for stories on science news websites, as well as some of the major news websites. There are a lot of science “news” websites out there that I won’t touch, though (Natural News, for example). I want to use legitimate resources that cite the original sources. NASA, for example, is a good source I will use often. I’ll also use Planetary Society, Discovery, LiveScience, Space, Nature, and so on.

I’d like to know what your favourite science news websites are. Let me know in the comments section below.

Reading about Aboriginal Cultures

When I was in grade three, we studied about northern Alberta’s native life and history.  It was interesting, but it was so long ago, I can’t remember much about it.  In grade four, we studied about the Australian Aborigines.  That was also interesting, but my memory is mostly about art on rock faces.  In grade six, we studied about the Aztecs.  Now that was absolutely fascinating.  I remember a lot more about that.

As I read Deadhouse Gates, I have come to notice that there are a lot of different tribes of people in the area the story takes place.  It got me to thinking that learning about aboriginal groups in the world would not only be interesting, but would give a good idea about how different kinds of cultures lived in the past.  This could potentially be useful for writing fantasy and creating believable native cultures.

So, I’d like a little help.  Do you know of any websites that are good resources for learning about different aboriginal cultures?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Authors Answer 16 – Writers’ Resources

Not everything comes from an author’s mind.  Probably not a good idea, anyway.  Sometimes they need help, whether it’s research, editing, critiquing, or creating covers.  There are some great resources online that can help with these and more.  This week’s very useful question comes from Amy Morris-Jones.

tourist-information-symbol-iso-sign-is-1293Question 16: What are your favorite online resources/websites for writers?

H. Anthe Davis

Whee, link time!  Alas, I lost a lot of my links in my computer upgrade, but I do have a few of interest.  I make my own maps using the GIMP 2 program (like an open-source Photoshop), following the advice of a great mapmaking tutorial.  I use this color chart sometimes, and this medieval demographics calculator (though just for a rough guide), and I find Peter Menzel’s photography site (and books) to be really helpful in visualizing the differences between cultures in terms of food and home-goods consumption.  I also learn a lot from organic farming and DIY websites.  While most of the information will never make it into the text, I like knowing the details of my places and peoples.

S. R. Carrillo

I guess I should get some, huh? Google count? :\ Winterbayne has some! http://winterbayne.com/for-writers/

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I don’t go there much anymore because there’s a time-management factor that’s required and I just don’t have it, but CritiqueCircle.com is an awesome website to be a part of. The basic idea is that you can post a chapter of your manuscript and have fellow writers critique it. In order to keep everyone playing fair, you have to earn points by critiquing other people’s submissions before you can post one of your own. If you’re looking for opinions on your work during the editing process it’s an awesome resource, but if you’re like me and you just don’t have time to earn your points, it might not be for you.

My other favorite would probably be WritersDigest.com. There are a lot of resources available on one site, and thought quite a bit of it is stuff you have to pay for, there’s quite a lot of free stuff as well. They’re also constantly running contests that you can take part in for a chance at prizes and exposure, and that’s pretty cool.

And lastly, definitely NaNoWriMo.org, because having a community can be very important to a writer, and I don’t think there’s any greater or more supportive community than NaNo.

Paul B. Spence

Uh… To be honest, my resources are on the shelf over my desk.

Jean Davis

I’m a faithful user (or daily stalker if you want to be truthful) of The Grinder. Because of my recent focus on short stories, The Grinder has been a valuable resource in researching markets. It’s wealth of market information, specific searches, and submission tracking are quick and easy to use, which means more time for writing. http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com

Amy Morris-Jones

I feel like this list could go on forever since I’m always adding to it, but here is a handful of my favorites that I continually return to again and again:

Aerogramme Writer’s Studio: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/

The Write Practice: http://thewritepractice.com/

Writer’s Digest: http://www.writersdigest.com/

Writer’s Helping Writers: http://writershelpingwriters.net/

K.M. Weiland: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/

I’ve also found Twitter incredibly useful to keep up with the writing “conversation.”

D. T. Nova

Most of my answers aren’t specifically for writers, but can be very helpful to them anyway.

Behind the Name ( http://www.behindthename.com/ ) is good for helping decide names for characters.

For research I prefer to use semi-major sites that are about the general subject. The Nine Planets ( http://nineplanets.org/ ) for solar system astronomy, Encyclopedia Mythica ( http://pantheon.org/ ) for mythology, etc. Wikipedia is not as bad as some people say, though and I’ve done a lot of my research there.

http://www.aqua-calc.com/ has some useful tools, including the best volume/mass calculator I’ve seen.

http://stardestroyer.net/Resources/ has some tools for sci-fi writers, such as a planet parameter calculator.

I haven’t actually used it for anything that I’ve written, but http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index.php has all sorts of generators.

Caren Rich

Wow, that’s a loaded question.  I like Critique Circle, an online writers group that has forums as well as allows for critiques.  Wonderful for someone like me who hasn’t found a local group. Blogs from other writers are great to read about their successes and struggles as well as techniques. Pinterest is a great place to find articles relating to everything.  Good for research.


Writer’s Digest has forums and loads of information.

The Writers Forensics Blog has information on …. forensics!  Body parts, police, murder, etc…

Crime scene writer at Yahoo groups this is another great resource.   A place to ask questions relating to crime scenes and forensics.

Twitter, great place to keep tabs on all kinds of info for research.

Thrill Writing, another blog on crime writing.

Do you see a trend? With all of these resources I can plot out my novel, track down multiple ways to murder a character, clean up the crime scene, follow the clues and have my protagonist track down the killer.  All in a days work.

Linda G. Hill

The only thing I really have is WordPress. Can that be considered a resource?

Elizabeth Rhodes

I cannot give enough praise to Critique Circle.  That website has an amazing community of writers in all stages of the process geared toward helping each other improve upon their work.  It’s not like other critique groups where you’ll have a flood of review requests and few editors actually taking them on.  Their system is set up so that you must give as much as you get.
For getting words on the page, I recommend two other resources.  The first is National Novel Writing Month.  Despite the debate on whether their approach is a good one, NaNoWriMo provides if nothing else the motivation to ignore your self-doubts and fears for a month and get those words out.  You can’t edit a draft if you never write one, after all.  The second is Write or Die.  This little application functions like a word processor combined with a whip-lashing muse.  You will write, and you will continue to write, or you will be punished.  It’s another great motivator to keep writing and not worry about “Is this a good sentence?” just yet.

Jay Dee Archer

I rely on a few resources, but here are the biggest ones I use.

Critique Circle is my number one resource for critiquing. The community there is wonderful, and I’m guaranteed to have three or four critiques for my writing.

Writers Write has some great advice, but they also offer courses in writing.  They have some interesting topics that are quite helpful.

Another resource with blogs, forums, and articles about writing is Writing.com.

In the past, when I was doing my worldbuilding, I used this Medieval Demographics Made Easy calculator.  Of course, you can see the original calculator on this page, as well as spreadsheets and other calculators.  Here’s another interesting generator called Constructed Country Generator. And for an in-depth file, I suggest city216 on this page.  I used this a long time ago, and you can adjust many parameters so they can apply to more modern society. Although these are for RPGs, they can also be a bit of fun for worldbuilding in fiction.

How about you?

Do you know of any resources we didn’t mention? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.  I hope you found something new this week to help you with your writing.