Writer Resources

Historical Research

The Historical Thesaurus of English -  An excellent online compilation from the University of Glasgow that is a top-notch resource writers can use when researching language for narrative or dialogue in their fiction. 

Mental Floss - The online site for the magazine Mental Floss. The website and publication is devoted to sharing and chronicling trivia, and therefore is  a great resource for historical information. If you are willing to sift through the History Lists you can find some gems: Nine Breakfast Tips and Tricks from 19th-century Etiquette Books or  15 Awesome 19th-century Street Gang Names, for example.

Ask the Past - A blog featuring advice for modern problems sourced from old historical resources. Books consulted come from a variety of times in history, dating as early as the 11th century and as late as the early 20th century. There are quite a few manuscripts from the Middle Ages if that is a point of interest for you. If you are also interested in folk traditions or etiquette, there's a great deal of information to find here.

Food Timeline -  A great site for historical research and ensuring accuracy! This not only gives you an overarching timeline of when certain foods and meals were introduced, but you can search the A-Z index by food if you are unsure about the specific timeline itself.

The Pirate Surgeon's Journal - A resource that chronicles the medical treatments common during the Golden Age of Piracy. Whether or not you write about pirates, this is a helpful source if you need to know about medical care from around 1680-1725. Includes information about amputation, cautery, wound care, and more.

We Wear Culture -  compiled by Google Arts and Culture, this site breaks down the history of clothing and fashion. The section on Fashion Movements chronicles fashion trends both modern and old, as well as fashion within different cultures. Very interesting, and very helpful.

The National Archives Currency Converter - This is a wonderful resource if you are interested in the value British currency from 1270-2005 A.D. The "Old Money to New" option allows you to enter in a historical monetary amount to determine its modern value (as of 2005). You can also determine the "buying power" modern money would have in another time period. It auto-converts the value, then quotes its worth in goods and services. It's a fun tool courtesy of The National Archives, an agency of the UK's Ministry of Justice that has chronicled more than 1,000 years of history.

Structure and Organization

Timeglider - A useful tool for keeping track of chronology or continuity in a story (especially helpful for series writers!). Timeglider is a web-based, highly visual app that allows you to plot histories for anything from character's lives to worldbuilding on a grand scale. Explore how it works and give it a trial run.

The Story Grid - A website by editor and writer Shawn Coyne that breaks down the structure of a manuscript. To quote Coyne, "it allows [writers] to break down the component parts of their novels (or narrative non-fiction) to see where their storytelling went off-track." There are some free resources you can immediately download off of his site, and if you subscribe you'll get his posts as soon as he updates them. 

The Better Novel Project's Master Outline-  Writer Christine Frazier deconstructs popular novels using her own take on the index card method. By analyzing the structure of each novels, she formulated a master outline to help keep the structure of your novel in check. Her website not only covers the structure of a story, but also analyzes other key components of fiction, such as characterization, symbolism, and theme.

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