Resources – holiday

 

A loch within a forest near Glencoe.

A loch within a forest near Glencoe.

It’s not a book and it’s not a website, or even a single location. I’ve been on holiday for the past week and as I usually do, I tour the area extensively.

Being on holiday is a good source of resource for readers and writers as I aim to highlight in this post.

What specific resources are there?

1.  As a reader you might carry a notebook and pen. If you’re a writer you should carry a notebook and pen.

2.  Keep your camera handy. Seeing wonderful sights is all part of being on holiday, but to remember them clearly, and the ideas they provoked – take some pictures.

3.  Tourist Information. The classic holiday source for information whether at home or away. Maps, pamphlets, locations of places of interest, books and of course the staff. Talk to people who know the area.

4.  Museums of whatever size or type usually have a selection of books and leaflets. In those locations there are usually maps and guides to the local area.

5.  Accommodation can be a great source. I tend these days to hire self-catering accommodation and once again I’m living in an old stone cottage. A local village, a forest, mountains and a loch all within a few minutes walk make this an exceptional location, but you can find inspiration in any area if you look.

6.  Open eyes, open mind and active imagination are all at our disposal. It doesn’t matter if we are continuing with our regular life or if we are on holiday – we will find inspiration if we are open to it and look for it.

Time to go now, because I can sense a day of inspiration calling to me.

I’ll be on blog patrol as soon as I’m back in my usual writing location. Thank you for dropping by.

Resources – the Atlas

Europe - featuring Sweden (green section at top centre)

Europe – featuring Sweden (green section at top centre)

I feel that this is an area that might be interesting to readers and writers.

Prior to the April A to Z Challenge 2014, I set up a menu to build a list of resource materials.

In my menu I listed several books that I use myself as handy resource tools. Online resources are a separate idea in my opinion, so I’ll leave them until after I’ve written a few posts on that wonderful idea; the book.

What do I use?

I use the Philips Navigator Britain, which is excellent whether being used for journeys or as a writing resource. I have a good map of Northern Ireland and a separate map of Eire aka; the Irish Republic, or Southern Ireland. To handle international issues, I also have the AA Road Atlas Europe and The Times World Atlas, which is much more than a book full of maps.

What do I get from my ‘Navigator Britain’ atlas?

1. Route planners, which enable me to decide which way characters might choose to get from A to B.

2. Town and city names which apart from anything else sometimes provide ideas for character names.

3. Motorways, major roads, minor roads, bridle paths, rivers, lakes and railways are clear.

4. Densely populated areas and remote areas which can help with a plot.

5. Places of interest like: castles, golf courses, museums, historical sites and much more.

Why not use Google or another search engine?

My atlas is physically there with no searching, opening various windows, setting parameters.

If I find something that has an appeal, I then follow up with a search engine for up to date details.

What do I get from the World Atlas?

1. My geographical knowledge is reasonable, but it provides so much confidence to double-check things like borders, flags, populations, average temperature, the currency, languages spoken and more.

2. I’ve been to many cities in Europe but it’s nice to relate to a route by road number and see how a city can be approached from a variety of directions, including from other cities.

3. Distances between places and the terrain are all there by taking a closer look, not be going screen to screen, zooming in and out and so on.

4. If I find something that appeals, I can as said before, use a search engine for up to date information.

5. Time zones, latitude and longitude are all inter-related and help when characters are travelling or communicating with somebody across the world.

I have a good selection of city maps and individual country maps to supplement these two main books, so for me, these things are so much more than mere books full of maps.

Are you a map person, or a search engine person, whether a reader or a writer?

My next blog patrol starts today so if you’re on my list – see you soon.

In my next post I’ll look at the Zodiac Signs book, but for now, thank you for stopping by.

 

 

F … is for feedback

F[1]  is for feedback.

When I use the word feedback, I don’t mean a spontaneous comment. Look at the construction of the word; it is a response.

A review is a good example of feedback, and I have my own set of rules when writing a review. Yes, I know there will now be some of you that will not be surprised by that admission.

I believe that in life, if you don’t have something constructive to say, then don’t say anything. When still in the retail management role I held by the maxim: ‘Praise in public, reprimand in private’. A combination of those two trains of thought takes us some way to understanding my attitude to writing, or not writing reviews

1.  Even if I don’t like  book or story, I make a point of not demeaning the author, or their efforts.

2.  If a piece of writing is particularly bad, whether it be a story or book, I do not write a public review.

3.  If I find; typos, incorrect syntax, or a glaring error, I make an effort to give the author a private ‘heads-up’ by email.

4.  When I write a public review, it normally takes the form of a ‘praise sandwich’. My intro will be a positive statement, followed by the body of the comment which may have some constructive criticism (if appropriate), followed by a summary which will be another positive statement, even if it’s only a couple of words of encouragement.

All of us that call ourselves writers enjoy what we do, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Nothing damages confidence and self-esteem more than a completely negative review. If we write a mainly critical review, we should try to find something positive to say.

As writers, we shouldn’t be competing with each other; we should be supportive. I believe that those of us who have learned lessons should be prepared to help others. I came to writing seriously in my mid-50’s and I continue to take heed of other writers of all ages.

Let’s go forward by using feedback as a positive tool, to enhance our community and improve the relationships in our chosen profession, (or hobby in some cases). Together we can take the joy and success to new heights. This is a call to arms my literary friends.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see some of you tomorrow for G, let me think …

***

Resource ideas for Writers

Who might benefit from this post?

Anyone who writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories, novels, articles, letters … well, you get the idea. If fellow readers and writers respond, we will all benefit.

DSCN2950

Why am I initiating this now?

I haven’t done a writing course. I learned through experience how to build my collection of resource, or reference books, and I’d like to help other writers by suggesting a simple list of books. It may be that some writers don’t feel they need them all, but having a proposed selection is always a good thing. After reading this post, you might like to join the team; let’s work together and help each other to succeed.

What is it about?

It’s about resource, or reference. Yes, of course we can all use the Internet. How about that occasion when the link is down, or you want to be away from the screen for a while. There is nothing quite like having an actual book, complete with bookmarks or page indexes at certain places. I’m going to start us off with my favourite list of reference material. No, not yet; it will come later in the post.

What can you do?

Take part. Leave an opinion if you wish on any of the ideas, or better still, if you have an idea that isn’t listed; share it with us, the writing community.

When can you respond?

Please feel free to respond immediately with a comment on this post. The more information we can get out there from within our community, the better it will work for all of us.

Where will the information go?

On any social link you want to place it. Personally I use Facebook, Twitter and Google +, but there many more. It’s going to be a team effort.

Why should anyone take part?

We are a community of like-minded people, and it’s good to share. The ‘pooling’ of knowledge is a mutually beneficial thing to do.

How will it work?

That will depend on you; writer, reader, or blogger. This post will feature my own favourites, and then we’ll take it from there. My next posts will spell out why I find particular books so useful. Some reasons might not be obvious by looking at the book title. My links are different colours, to help distinguish the titles. The final three are not linked, because they depend on personal preference or locality.

What are my favourite reference books?

English Dictionary and Thesaurus, Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, The Writer’s abc Checklist, Zodiac Types, Baby Names, Love Writing, Body Language, Road Atlas (UK), World Atlas, Yellow Pages or equivalent phonebook.

Now, it’s your turn. Let me know your opinion, or suggest a book to add to our list. If you want to see how big we can make this thing – add a link to your own blog. If your idea is unique, or fits in with the theme, I’ll add it to my list on my website.

Thank you for reading and taking part!