Here’s a collection of links I find especially useful in the writing process or just entertaining in general. Now you can clog up your bookmarks with ’em, too. It’s all about the research, baby. Write what you know, and when you don’t, at least sound like you do…
SLANG SITES – I find these ferociously addictive. Please be forewarned, these sites contain lots of naughty words and become a massive time-suck. Use discretion.
- Thesaurus.com – For my money, the best online thesaurus with lots of lovely cross-referencing and exhaustive options. Play with the fascinating Visual Thesaurus if you’ve got time to spare.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary – I personally think it’s important to keep consistent, so I always go here first. Especially love how they notate when the word first appeared in usage. Whenever I get a redline in Word, I double-check it here.
- The Free Dictionary – A good backup to the M-W, and the best source for idioms. I’m constantly surprised by how many of the little phrases don’t mean exactly what I think they mean!
- Synonyms for Said – Because sometimes a fella’s gotta snarl to get his point across.
- Top Baby Names – Based on U.S. SSA data (and census?), the top 1000 names by gender per year from 1990-2009, then by decade back to 1880. Each name also tracks trending data (i.e. was Jessica growing in popularity, and how fast?) as well as meaning. Also includes links to UK, Canada & Australia data.
- Day of the Week Calculator – Go back in time and make sure your dates jive. Yeah, I’m that anal.
- Free Translation site – Got a furriner in your story? Let him or her pepper their English with native words or mutter a few choice phrases under their breaths. Lots of different languages (including Latin, required for any magical spells you might need to invent in your HP fanfic).
- Transliteration site – If your furriner is Greek or Russian, you’ll need this one open in a second window. Or save yourself the headache and avoid these nationalities for your characters entirely. There’s a reason they say, “It’s all Greek to me.”
- Harry Potter Wiki – Great stuff, more recently updated than the Lexicon.
- Harry Potter Lexicon – The old standby. The timelines can’t be beat.
- Sycophant Hex’s list of Canon words – The reason why we all perpetuate the stupidity of capitalizing Muggle and spelling it “Apparition” instead of “Apparation.”
- Fanfiction Terms Defined – When geeks get together, there’s gonna be jargon. Find out why it’s called “slash!”