If you are off an running with an idea that you want to write and you need to do a little research, you need to be careful of your sources to make sure you get good information. Duh! Right? Honestly, I don’t think that is so obvious anymore, so a quick word of caution. (If you don’t want that, skip the next two paragraphs.)
The kids that are really getting going right now, at this point in time, have never experienced a world without Internet. They can so quickly and easily use a search engine to find information, that they have no idea what a card catalog is. They have never dug out a stack of twenty books and hoped one of them had that date they needed for their report, or that photo, or anything useful. It is so easy to go to google, or msn, or yahoo, (I’m trying not to play favorites here! There is a reason why we still have more than one -they are all a little different. If you have only ever used one, you are doing yourself a disservice as you will get different results with different engines…) to get your information. They will point you so quickly to so many great sources of information.
But they won’t help you figure out what is good information. (Google Scholar has recently been pointed out to me recently, but I have not had the opportunity to explore it yet.) So many websites are full of questionable information that the Internet should be used very cautiously when researching facts. Some people I have talked to have not realized that Wikipedia, a great source of information, can be added to and modified by anyone. And anyone who has spent anytime ‘browsing’ the Internet should be able to quickly figure out that Mr. Anyone is a jerk who thinks it is funny to mislead people.
Which leads me to the other great use of the internet, researching bad information! Now here, I am not going to point any specific links or use any specific names. I’m not in the business of intentionally upsetting people, I’d like to keep that my sideline hobby. So instead I will offer a few ‘search terms’ that can be used to illustrate my point. *CAUTION* Watch for viruses! Use a good antivirus that warns you of potentially dangerous websites, because these terms will take you into the bugs’ war zone.
Try these: 911(followed by words like lie, truth, real, conspiracy), or conspiracy (with JFK, 911, Roswell). You will get some of the greatest fiction ever written! It absolutely amazes me at what is out there! If you can’t find an idea for a story, then just type in anything that interests you, and dig around until you are sure you are knee deep in someone’s fiction. When I went to double check my memory of the origin of the ravens at the Tower of London, I stumbled onto a whopper! Seriously! A world domination conspiracy theory about the ravens at the Tower of London! (No I won’t say where or what, I said I wouldn’t. But you’ll know if you ever get there.)
If you need an idea for a story, and something like this doesn’t get your muse drooling creative juices all over your ear as she babbles incoherently trying to say it all at once…Well, you probably should decide not to write fiction.