Since I write historical romance, Google has become a big part of my research life. Like most readers, I have my library of research books, but recently, when editing, I ran across a regency character saying ‘they’re playing musical beds,’ I gave pause. When was the children’s game, musical chairs first played? Was it as early as the 1812 year I set my book in?
Alas, no. Musical chairs was from around the year 1875. So, obviously, raised eyebrows and looks of confusion would have greeted my heroine had she uttered those words.
Speaking of how the west was won, when I did the research for my recent release, Emma’s Journey, I found the internet invaluable. I tracked my characters from Missouri to Oregon, investigating all the places they would have stopped and passed along the way.
How active were Indian attacks at the time? What did Fort Laramie look like? What illnesses plagued the pioneers who took the Oregon Trail? All of this information was at my fingertips, thanks to the internet. Had this book been written twenty or so years ago, I would have spent an inordinate amount of time at the library.
As much as I love the library, and browsing their shelves, getting quick answers helps the muse to stay active, and my fingers busily writing storyline.
I thought about all of this recently when three different companies dropped phone books at my doorstep. I haven’t used a phone book in years. I just Google it.
What about you? How has the information available on the internet changed your life?