More Fun Time Wasters (I Mean Great Research Stuff)

Recently I posted about fun writers’ tools (Cool Tools).  Here are two potential research tools.  Or just fun ways to procrastinate a bit!

Stellarium

This is awesome – free software that lets you research what the sky looks like from your current location, or Paris, or the Moon, or Pluto – yup, I had fun zipping around the solar system.  I zoomed in on the Earth from Venus, watched Saturn from one of its moons, saw the stars that are visible from Pluto.

The research part? Well, say you’re writing a story set on one of Jupiter’s moons.  When does Jupiter rise and set?  Is it daylight when Jupiter is visible?  You can think up lots of questions or just have fun zooming around!

Pinterest

Online bulletin boards to collect photos (which retain their link – so in a way, you are collecting websites too).  You can have multiple bulletin boards.  They are public.  Other people can see what you pin, and follow you – that’s the social media part of it – it can be used to generate fans/followers/buzz for your books.

It could not be easier.  Once you sign up, you get a button on your browser that lets you “pin” photographs onto virtual bulletin boards.  And if you are a visual person, your bulletin boards can be quite inspirational.  This would be the research part – pin photos of art that inspires you on a board for your WIP.  Pin pictures of people who might look like your character.  Pin logos for websites with music you love.  Pin covers of books you want to read, or have read and loved.

Just remember it is public.  You are encouraged to sign in via Facebook or Twitter – so consider whether you want to have each pin announced on Facebook/Twitter – if not, go to “settings” and turn off the link.

Invite-only at this point – let me know if you need an invite. (Here’s my small collection: http://pinterest.com/leehallison/)

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2 responses to “More Fun Time Wasters (I Mean Great Research Stuff)

  1. That Stellarium looks very cool — and I’ve been meaning to check out Pinterist. Your collection be lookin’ good!

  2. Thanks, Milo! Pinterest might end up being a time saver for me, if I can find webpages via the links on Pinterest instead of searching through my bookmarks… and exercising my visual side seems to be good, gets me away from text. (Any excuse for these great time wasters!)

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