NaNoWriMo is more than halfway over. Looking for inspiration to get you past writer’s block? Consider consulting dictionaries and encyclopedias on specific subjects.
Last week, someone stumbled upon our encyclopedias on the short Reference shelves on the second floor. He wondered if we had anything like that for sci fi/fantasy mythology. He was curious as to where storytellers got their information about the strengths and weaknesses of monsters.
Lucky for him, he was talking with someone who’s been reading a ton of fantasy fiction this year. I have read the accounts of countless vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fae, demons, witches, trolls, shape-shifters—you name it!
I got him the book How to Kill a Vampire as a place to start. As we were talking about what his goals were for finding books like this, it struck me that he had a great idea: use these kinds of books to inspire and research your fiction writing.
Sure if you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can google it and skip a trip downtown. But if you don’t know what you need? A reference source allows you to browse and flip through until you stumble upon that piece of the storytelling puzzle you were missing. The library-speak term for it is serendipitous discovery. You don’t know what you need until you find it.
The short stacks in the Reference area on the second floor have a number of dictionaries and encyclopedias that could inform your writing and world-building. We have dictionaries on fashion and costumes, language use and slang, superstitions, mythology and more!
Here’s a brief selection:
Available from ICPL
Books at other libraries (available via Interlibrary Loan)
Still don’t know what you’re looking for? Contact us at icpl.org/ask to have the Info Desk experts track down the perfect source or three.