R … is for resources

R[1] is for resources, which for me includes reference and reading. I’ve added the other two words because they are interconnected, and play their part in today’s topic.

What do I mean by resources?

This covers anything that assists us as writers. In some ways it’s unfortunate that in these times of the information super highway, when many people think of resources; it means the Internet. Rather than reach for one of those neat, tightly-packaged items – a book, a lot of folk are content to ask Google or some other search engine.

Yes, it takes a few keystrokes and virtually any subject can be traced. Likewise, when this is done, there are several sources. Without doubt, one of the main sources is Wikipedia, so we’ll take that as our example to prove a point.

What do we find in every Wikipedia entry?

In it’s simplest form, we find a disclaimer. The fact that the statement mentions words like ‘verification’ and ‘reliable resources’ doesn’t indicate that everything in the entry has them – it indicates something else. The information is verified up to a point, which means if you quoted it, you are putting a lot of trust in those who compiled it. Use it by all means, but cross-reference your information with at least one other source.

What do we find in an established reference book?

Apart from being there, (even when there is no electricity), we find the names of the author, or authors. Not far inside, we will find out what qualifies them to suggest they know anything about the topic. We will also see whether it is written as a credible reference, or it is simply an opinion piece in book format. Remember also, that these handy packs of organised paper are great for filling up a shelf beside your desk.

For me, the Internet sites serve to remind me, or point me in the right direction, or to give me a basic understanding. A book on the other hand normally carries with it a certifiable qualification alongside the author’s name, and that is important if I’m intending to use the information elsewhere.

Why is reading a resource?

The immediate answer to this is, that if we are writing creatively, then we should read. There are several reasons for this, and not least because the celebrated author Stephen King recommends it in his outstanding book, ‘On Writing’. Before I forget, if you haven’t got a copy – get one!

Reading helps to expose us to a variety of genre, authors, and styles. In my own case for example, in the past couple of months I’ve read: thriller, fantasy, romance, adventure, erotica and historical. I have many books on my shelves that have yet to be read, but I also have reference books that have paid for themselves many times over.

We can learn snippets of information by reading, even if it’s a short story, or somebody else’s blog or website. Okay, perhaps we will find information and want to chase up more sources to clarify it, but it might first have been found reading a competition entry. As I’ve tried to do throughout this A to Z Challenge, I’ve given examples, and this post has what might be considered a peculiar example.

A few months ago, I wanted to point out some of the basics of creative writing, so I wrote a short story to do it. The story is, ‘An Aspiring Writer’, and although I’m not an authority on the subject, the comments I’ve had, indicate that there are some credible points made. It was fun to write, but I did give it plenty of thought.

On my blog now is a new and expanding menu for the use of any visitor which contains resources for writers. If you have any suggestions, they are welcome, and will be accredited if used. Apart from that particular menu, my intention is to create a menu to feature all my ‘A to Z’ posts.

Once again, I thank you for reading and I’ll be back tomorrow with ‘S’.

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