Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Three cheers for the internet!

I'm writing my third book, and it occurred to me how amazingly easy computers make this process. Not just Word, which I love in spite of its little ways, but how simple research has become.

Almost anything you need to know about is right there at your fingertips. No more trekking to the library to find, if it's open, that it doesn't have the book you require, or that another borrower has taken it out.

Things I have researched recently with a few clicks of the mouse:
  • Penalties for being an accessory after the fact (actually obstructing justice and harbouring a fugitive)

  • Rock star excess

  • Brit Art

  • The poste restante service, here and in France

  • Hix Oyster and Chop House

  • Rock star earnings

  • 50 Best Guy Movies, and the female equivalent

  • parking options in Notting Hill

  • hic sunt dracones

...and that's just this week...


  1. I agree that the web is a wonderful resource. Now if we could just make dawdling on the darned thing a bit less attractive. As time wasters go, the internet is world champion. And I have found that the ease with which I can look up a bit of info sometimes has to be quelled in order to not interrupt the flow of "making stuff up". Get it wrong for now and go back later to make corrections. Sometimes I just put in XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX for the bit that needs research later so I can plow on with the story.

  2. How very true. I'm time-wasting now...aagh...

    But if we do it for long enough, might we not become possessed of universal knowledge, like Francis Bacon, the last man to know everything?

    Alan, you could be the next man to know everything.

  3. Alan, you could be the next man to know everything.

    That, and about four dollars, will get me a latte at Starbucks. The ones that are still open, that is.

  4. Sounds like a rather exciting book!


  5. Thank you Nik. I hope it is.

    And my thoughts are with your poor feet. I hope you end up with a nicely matching and functioning pair very shortly.

  6. He he! Thanks Lexi. They're definitely getting there, albeit slowly.

    Hope the research and writing are still going well. Isn't research fun? There's an odd freedom to it, isn't there?


  7. Yes. I've just chosen a motorbike for my rock star. It's a Harley, a Night Rod Special, black on black.

    Research is like shopping, only cheaper and more fun...

  8. Hi Lexi

    I remember trying to research my first attempt at a book, years ago, and having real trouble getting what I needed. Whoever thought up Wikipedia deserves a medal.

    The other wonderful thing about the internet is it helps bring writers together who otherwise might be struggling away on their own for years getting nowhere. I can't believe how much I've learned from receiving other peoples helpful comments.

  9. Yes indeed, Lorrie.

    I was so pleased with the first draft of my first book - then I joined Youwriteon and found out how much I had to learn.

    I've also made some great friends, some of them in America, so I'd never otherwise have 'met' them.

  10. I'm with Alan and Nick Hornby, I make stuff up. I get hooked on the nitnoy detail, only to later decide that I really don't need the section that included the mating habits of deermice.

    Now the desert packrat, that's another matter....

  11. The internet is the Spawn of the Devil. All who have used it are either dead or doomed to die. And even before you die, your brain fries and your testicles drop off. Always assuming you've got any in the first place.

    I like libraries, dammit! I used them for many years, during which brain and balls were in perfectly good nick. Look at me now.

    Some websites don't even bother to do their bit towards brain-frying and castration. They just turn you to stone in an instant. Much like the Medusa. Don't believe me? Turn then, and look, if you dare, at this.

    For those of you still with me -- i.e. those of you bright enough not to have sought instant petrification -- perhaps you would like to consider what fate might be reserved for those who created the Devil's Spawn, and those who point the innocent towards her.

    Burning alive would seem appropriate, but, having watched The Tudors last week, I would also be prepared to consider boiling. Or what about crucifixion? (Which Mel Gibson finds strangely fascinating, the old pervert.)

    But oh no, you can bet that the politically correct and the mawkishly sentimental would object to all of these on "humanitarian" grounds. So I'm prepared to settle for impalement.

    Thanks for listening.

  12. Norm, I like to look things up, then invent with confidence.

    Iain, you old curmudgeon, thanks for the link. I've saved it to my Favourites for the odd spare moment.

    Now I know how you pass your time - Tetris and watching The Tudors. I gave the T.s five minutes, just to marvel at it (Anne Boleyn planning romps with Frenchmen just as though reliable contraception had been invented) before I switched it off.

    It's obvious to the meanest intelligence you protest too much; why not succumb and start a blog? I'd link to it.

    N.B. We're all doomed to die, internet or not, sooner or later.