A Life Of Fiction XXV

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Last month I talked about slang and idioms. I have decided to place an extract from one of my RPG books on this site. It covers the slang used in the London of my Victorian gas-lamp fantasy world. It can be found under RPG: Advanced Gaslamp Book. I hope it might be useful for other potential authors.

Build a research library: Just a bit of advice to prospective authors, this month, and that is to build a research library of books. Yes, I know that the internet is there, and you can always look something up on Wikipedia. But, although Wikipedia is more reliable than it used to be, I have still seen errors on some of its entries. There is also the fact that it does not go into a great deal of depth on the subjects it covers. I have found it very useful, but I also like to be able to look something up in a book. At least, with a book, you know that all of the facts in there will have been checked before being published.

I write fiction, rather than anything factual, but I still want to know what is real. I need to know what the real 1890s were like, so that I can modify them for my gas-lamp stories. I need to know the laws of science, so that I can occasionally break them. I need as much research material as I can get, in search of those facts which have not yet appeared on the internet – and not everything is yet out on the net, despite what some people might think. There are a lot of books which have not been digitised. And if you have a book, on your shelf, detailing what you need, then it can be a lot easier to find what you want than trawling through dozens of pages on Google or Bing.

So I have a research library, one which I have built up over many years. Whenever I go shopping in my local town I call in at the charity bookstores, to see if they have any books which I might find useful. Usually there is nothing at all. But, occasionally, I might find some tome to add to my research books.

Here follows a brief list of some of the books in my research library:

Classical Dictionary

Collins Dictionary of Economics

Collins Dictionary of Mathematics

Collins English Dictionary

Concise Encyclopedia of World History

Dictionary of Law

Dictionary of Martial Arts

Encyclopedia of Forensic Science

King James Bible

Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations

Oxford Dictionary of Art & Artists

Oxford Dictionary of Science

Penguin Dictionary of Biology

Penguin Dictionary of Chemistry

Roget’s Thesaurus

Who’s Who In British History

Those are just some of the books which I have amassed, on one shelf beside my bed. I have others elsewhere, and they are just an example of some of the books which I use. I am not suggesting that every author buys those precise books. Each author may require a different research library, tailored to their work. But those books above are part of mine.

Some of those books are very well thumbed. My copy of Roget’s Thesaurus is falling apart, and I should really go out and get another one.

Anyway, I think that’s enough talking about research libraries for now.

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