The Internet is a writer’s friend. We use it for research, for social media, and for selling (and buying) books. I offer tips and personalized coaching for writers and their social media platforms, and so I thought I’d write a blog post along similar lines to help writers with their Googling.
Some time ago I got into the habit of researching proper names before I used them in a story, and I believe it’s a good habit to have. I think it’s especially important in contemporary or historical fiction, because it’s very easy to accidentally name your character after someone famous (that you didn’t know about, but that one of your readers most likely will). I also recommend doing it if you want a fictitious town (or road or school) in a real place; like, say, you want your characters to live in small-town Nebraska, but you don’t want to make said small town an actual real place. Go ahead and research cities, towns, and communities in Nebraska so that you don’t accidentally wind up setting your story in a real place that you will then mispresent because you thought it wasn’t real. Continue reading