The last two posts, from Monday and Wednesday, offered resources to help you when writing a story that involves magic. I have a few more resources for you, though they may not be what you thought you were looking for.
I have to start this list of resources with a warning. As writers, we need to be thick-skinned, they tell us. Well, put on the lizard suit to read Limyaael’s Rants. She has a huge collection of posts archived at LiveJournal, where she rants on the “failings” of fantasy writers. We all may recognize ourselves in her posts, but the advice (and admonishments) are well-taken. Basically, don’t do these! Just a few to start you off…
Each story you write will take you into a new direction, perhaps to a new region of the world or universe. Here are some of the resources I’ve used in my writing that has helped me create a supernatural world:
Writing a ghost story? If your story takes place in the American South, you may want to visit SOUTHERN SPIRITS: Ghostly Voices from Dixie Land Yeah, ghosts, not magic, but what the hell.
For my current work in progress, I used the Wikipedia entry for psychokinesis, more commonly thought of as telekinesis, or TK. This might come in handy if you want to give a character a magical or superhuman ability. Like my character Justine, who can stop bullets midair.
You won’t find the next resource on this list anywhere in the sci-fi sites on world building. I used this page when I needed to come up with an herb that would act as the vehicle for a spell. Even when writing fantasy, I like having a realistic basis for the world and its magic. I needed an herb with certain properties, namely disorientation, forgetfulness, and making one susceptible to suggestion. Yeah, exactly. I turned to a site that catalogues the effects of herbs and plants, mostly what the site owner calls “psychoactives”: Psychoactive Vaults. Very …informative.
I did need some extra help, though, and turned to Culpeper’s Complete Herbal Alphabetical Index and A Modern Herbal Homepage, extensive databases on medicinal herbs and their properties. Those properties can be rather extreme at times. And that might be exactly what you’re looking for if you need a source of a poison or something equally evil.
I have actually come to the end of my list! If you’re having trouble with a topic you’re researching, let me know. I might have a source for you!
As always, if you have other resources you use, I’d love to learn about them!