I love finding things that make writing easier. It’s all about the details. And if you don’t get them right, you throw off the story. Readers do check. I’m in the middle of a story set in the fall. My problem? Sunrise and sunset. I can’t have my characters strolling around in the sun at 7:30 when the sun set at 6:53. Bad form. I found a great website that takes care of all those nasty sun details. It’s especially great because you can set it for any place in the world. Not only that but it goes back in time. I got tired of clicking the back button to 1940.
It also tells you what phase the moon is in. It might be very picky to know what phase the moon is in, but it’s one more thing you don’t have to worry about. If your day is October 16, 1940 (no I’m not going to click forward to 2013), we find out that the sun rose at 6:51, set at 17:53 (or 5:53 civilian time), but that the moon rose at 6:17 and set at 7:06, and it was full. If you like you can use UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) or GMT (Greenwich Mean Time.)
Where can you find all this wonderful information? At http://sunrisesunsetmap.com. And to make things even better, you can print off your year of choice. Having a hard copy right in front of me is so handy. I can mark it up or change the day so it works for what I need.
Another great resource is to search the native plants for the area you’re writing about. It will give you pictures of the plants and that, in turn, will give you all you need to put the right plants in the right area.
I know none of this is new information, but it is something we need to remember to use. It’s so tempting just to rely on memory and keep writing, but don’t give in. The more realism you can sift into your work, the more the reader will subconsciously buy the premise. And, after all, isn’t that the goal? Keep the reader grounded in the story.
Keep the research close at hand and use it.
I love nothing more than to have a bunch of relevant websites bookmarked.
What are your go-to websites?