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research or die series

5 Times It’s OK To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

Writing historical fiction, I have come to learn, is like navigating a slippery slope along a precarious cliff. God forbid you get a fact wrong. Anyone who knows anything about the time period you are writing about will let you know that you did: in the reviews, on the internet, for all to see. Let’s face it. Getting the clothing down, the setting, the politics and social graces of the times is the easy part. Keeping people entertained in another time period is what makes the story a story. So I have had to take liberties as well in my… Read More »5 Times It’s OK To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

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5 Inspirational Ways to Research (Even When You’re Already Writing!)

It’s too late for research, you’re already writing??? NOT ON YOUR NELLY, writers – there’s always time for research, as fab author Alison Bond demonstrates … it can only HELP your writing! I must say, I’m a big fan of numbers 1 and 5!! Over to you Alison … Write what you know, they say. And if you don’t know, be prepared to learn all about it. Elizabeth Gilbert said that in order to write The Signature of All Things: “…for three straight years I sat in a chair, reading books about botany, evolution, abolition, women’s history, missionaries, Dutch 18th century commerce,… Read More »5 Inspirational Ways to Research (Even When You’re Already Writing!)

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6 Reasons Writers May Need To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

Sacrificing facts for drama is a difficult balance. After all, all of us want our reader (and thus our audience) to suspend their disbelief; the last thing we want them to do is splutter, “As if!” Here’s a list of why we might sacrifice facts for drama: 1) Drama Really obvious, but writers consistently duck away from really engaging with the dramatic, myself included. They’ll write a good scene, but refuse to take it as far as they possibly can in order to squeeze the most drama out of it. Often this will be because they won’t want to put… Read More »6 Reasons Writers May Need To Sacrifice Facts For Drama

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The Importance Of Research

BEWARE: SPOILERS (CHILDREN OF MEN) Thanks to Jill, who asked me recently about research and where she can find various stuff to do with hospital treatment and accents. The internet, I think, was made especially for screenwriters: Google is God. In fact, this was the inspiration for my Research or Die series last summer – anyone interested will find links to useful sites on stuff like language, events, disasters, heroes, villains, times, medical, crime, money right there… In fact, if an obvious thing/person/ isn’t there, let me know – better still, send me the link and I’ll add it. Check… Read More »The Importance Of Research

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Research or Die # 7: Writing Plays And New Writing Competitions & Initiatives

Another addition to this occasional series because I’m feeling in need of a new challenge and direction for the new year… Enjoy!———————————————————————————– WRITING PLAYS Tips For Writing A Great Play By Troy M. Hughes Playwriting 101: In-depth Tutorial on Writing A Play by Playwright Jon Dorf Resources on Writing Plays – fantastic list of links, including “Why Writing Plays Will Make You A Better Screenwriter” Brief Intro To Greek Theatre Database of Modern American Plays and Playwrights Brief Intro to Roman Theatre Small Online Archive of full-length plays, one act plays, ten minute plays & monologues Help, Am I Writing… Read More »Research or Die # 7: Writing Plays And New Writing Competitions & Initiatives

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Research or Die # 6: Crime

Dumb Crooks’ Crime Database The 14 Characteristics of a Serial Killer Top 100 Serial Killers Of All Time Crime Library: Notorious Murders, Assassins, Spies, Serial Killers, Terrorists Notorious Murders and Criminals in History Casebook devoted to Jack The Ripper Unsolved and Missing # 1: Lord Lucan Unsolved And Missing # 2: Genette Tate Unsolved and Missing # 3: Ben Needham Unsolved and Missing # 4: Madeleine McCann A – Z of Crimes and Police Procedure UK Police Roles, including Special Constables and Community Support Officers The Ranks of UK Police FINALLY: An A – Z of Crime Drama! It’s pretty… Read More »Research or Die # 6: Crime

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Research or Die # 5: Medical

NHS Direct – encyclopediac site that covers just about everything medical! NHS Careers – another great site, this time about medical jobs Guide To Medical Jargon How to Deliver A Baby Safely Without A Doctor or Midwife A Week by Week Pregnancy Guide Demonstration of Mouth To Mouth Resuscitation – sign in required for this video The Recovery Position – with pictures, step by step What To Do When Someone Has An Epileptic Fit What To Do When Someone Has A Heart Attack How To Stop Excessive Bleeding Guide To Types of Wounds Created By Blades Methods of Injury and… Read More »Research or Die # 5: Medical

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Research or Die # 4: Times & Money

On This Day – fantastic BBC site that recounts everything that has happened on any day’s date On This Day In History – as above, but MSN’s version Today In Literature – similar to the above sites, but in literature (subscription required) Today In Music – musical history On This Day – another site that lists ALL historical events, including music, literature, war, etc Crazy Fads – everything that’s popular from decades past 20th Century History – useful timelines here The People History – useful links to the decades and individual information about computers, money, how much things used to… Read More »Research or Die # 4: Times & Money

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Research or Die # 3: Language

The History of The English Language – an amazing site dedicated to English through the ages, including Ye Olde English! English Language Usage Dictionary of Slang and Colloquialliams used in the UK Slang Used In The US A Short Lexicon of UK Teen Speak Teen Talk – The Lowdown – includes some useful text/instant msg speak The Urban Dictionary Common Errors in English – really useful if one of your characters is supposed to be a non-native English Speaker An Elizabethan English Dictionary Differences in Language In The UK, US and Australia Dictionary of Cockney Rhyming Slang Machine Translation –… Read More »Research or Die # 3: Language

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Research or Die, # 2: Events & Disasters

WW2: The Battle of Stalingrad WW2: The Battle of Britain WW2: Concentration Camps (plus infomation on The Holocaust) WW2: Blitzkreig The Hindenburg Disaster 9/11 7/7 BombingsThe Madrid Bombings The Oklahoma Bombing The Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster The UK 1987 Gales The UK Floods, 2007 How Are Hurricanes Created? Earthquakes – Questions and Answers Drought – Key Facts, including links to other natural disasters Hurricane Katrina The Tsunami Cults 1: Jim Jones Cults 2: David Koresh The Columbine Shootings The UK Miners’ Strikes, 1972 & 74 and 1984-5 Slideshow, here) The Three Day Week (UK)

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