As a writer, I often find myself researching different topics to get ideas for my poetry or stories. As a child of the 90s and 2000s, I remember the days when research involved one of two things: a trip to the library or a long wait for unstable dial-up internet.
Thank goodness we’ve evolved since then!
Now that we have faster internet speeds and more in-depth websites, researching is a breeze for the modern writer! However, the downside is that it can be overwhelming if you need something specific and don’t know where to find it.
To help you get a foothold in the research arena, here are five of my favorite websites for finding information!
One of my favorite things to do when writing poetry or flash fiction is to take an obscure word and use it to add some flavor- and there’s no better place to find obscure words than the Phrontistery!
Not only do they have a dictionary of rare and unusual words, but they also have a “location of Lipograms,” a “Compendium of Lost Words,” a blog about linguistics, anthropology, and writing systems, and MUCH more! It’s every writer’s dream website!
If you need a topic to write about, then head over to the Atlas Obscura for a collection of unusual news stories from around the world! I’m talking cryptid sightings, unusual meal preps, poisonous plants, scientific discoveries, and much more!
They also serve as a travel agency, planning trips to exotic locations for explorers of all interests! Find hidden cities, go on photography tours, experience living history, and reconnect with the world through one of their trips! If you’re a travel writer, or you just like adventure, this website is for you.
Yes, I know all about how “unreliable” Wikipedia is as a professional source, but it does provide a gateway to other, more reliable websites.
Find your topic, then scroll to the end of the Wikipedia page. There, you’ll find the notes and references that give the article its information. Voila! Sources galore.
All good writers need a handy thesaurus, and this website is one of the best! All you have to do is type the word you want synonyms for, hit search, and scroll through the options to find the one you need!
However, it isn’t perfect, and there will be times when you’re looking for a word with a specific definition, but the thesaurus may come up short. Otherwise, it’s the perfect starting point!
Finally, if you’re a poet or use rhymes in your writing, you need to check out Rhyme Zone! They can take (almost) any word and find rhymes and near-rhymes for it. They also offer definitions, synonyms/antonyms, and can search by syllable as well as by word.
Now, it isn’t perfect either. Sometimes, it’ll rhyme the wrong part of the word- or, in rare cases, not find rhymes at all. But it’s still great to have in a pinch!
These are five websites that are nearly always open on my browser, and I use them a LOT when working on my creative pieces. They’ve helped me out of more jams than I can count, and I’m forever grateful to live in the age of the internet!
What websites do you use for research? Let me know in the comments!