Map Making for Authors

Although probably most noted for use with fantasy authors, maps can be a useful tool for any writer. If you are writing a story that takes place in a real place, it’s going to be a lot easier to find a map of it, because if it isn’t real, then you are going to have to design the map yourself. Depending on how detailed you get this can include neighborhoods that don’t exist in cities that do or even blueprints to houses and other buildings if you need the layout for your character’s home, school, place of business or anything else.

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Huggies & Baby Names

This one came as a complete surprise. It’s not your usual resource for baby names and it doesn’t have as many names as websites dedicated to the topic, but Huggies has some pretty interesting lists that you might consider taking a look at.

With lists like: 10 Resources for Finding That Perfect Baby Name & 8 Tips for Choosing a Unique Baby Name (That Worked for Us!) you have more than a few things to consider if you go to this site looking at baby names. There might be something there that you want to use in determining the names of your characters.

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Our Baby Namer

By far my favorite baby name website is Our Baby Namer. The name is cute and easy to remember and that’s just the first of it’s many features.

It has the Social Security Database info from 1880 on as well as making the entire popularity history of a name accessible and easy to locate on one page. You can find information on names that don’t make the top 1,000 or like my own name, don’t make it all the time. Beginnings and endings of names are searchable, so if you want all your female characters in a family to have names ending in -ina, this is easy to find on this database.

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Social Security Administration Popular Names Database

If you live in the United States of America, then when you were born your name was recorded by the Social Security Administration. Since 1880, the Social Security Administration has been keeping track of how popular names are and every year they publish those results. There are many places where you can find that information, but if you want to go straight to the source, it can be found here.

There is a lot of information that you can get on that site including up to the 1,000 most popular names for each year from 1880 up until last year and how a single name’s ranking has changed over the years.

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What’s In a Name?

I love names. First names. Middle names. Last Names. Personal Names. Nick Names. Family Names. The meanings and their history. I find it all fascinating. Over the last two decades or there abouts I have collected dozens of baby name books. In addition I collect links to websites with names and information about names. You might say I am a little obsessed with names.

Hello, my name is . . .

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. If you don’t already know it, names are important. It doesn’t matter if your name is Tom, Dick, Harry, or John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. What matters is that it’s your name.

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Fictional Family Trees: Simple Family Tree

When a new writing friend noticed that I was doing a series on family tree softwares for writers to use, she recommended Simple Family Tree. I’ve added it to me list on the main page and I’m sharing with you my thoughts on it.

Simple Family Tree allows you to use the program for free, so I will be able to explore the whole software. This should give me a good idea if I am interested in using the software. Continue reading

Fictional Family Trees and Real Genealogy Software Programs

I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight, maybe younger, the first time I got to hold those precious pieces of paper that my great aunt sent my dad, the ones with information about our family. I remember hours spent reading those pages to Dad so that he could record them in the family tree software he had at the time.

It felt like the biggest most important responsibility in the world at the time. Every person on those pages was family and they had a story. I didn’t know much about their stories, usually not much more than the most basic of facts, but I was pulled into their worlds if only for a few minutes. Continue reading

Swimming In Salt

After trying to find a good place to swim, and time to do it in, this whole trip, we went to the beach, Palm Beach to be exact. You get there and you have two options. You can park along the road just outside for free or you can go into the small parking area for $10. We went with some friends who had come down just to see us while we were in the state and we decided to meet at the beach. Continue reading

The Argument for Seat Belts

I’ve always been super picky about seat belts. As a little kid I didn’t want to rid in a car unless I had one on. There were times when this meant sitting buckled in an adult’s lap or sharing a seat belt with another kid. Thankfully this was not common, because that probably wasn’t all that safe.

I remember one time we got stuck on a land bridge on the way to my best friends house when I was probably eight or nine, a two hour drive by the time I was about six. I don’t remember what happened, but I do remember the guy that stopped to take us back to the gas station just before the land bridge started so that we could call for help. The reason I remember so much is because his truck didn’t have any seat belts and I was very concerned. I think I considered trying to talk Mom into waiting for the next vehicle to stop or just walking. I did get in and it left a lasting impression on me.

I didn’t like it. Continue reading