Tools of Writing: Books or Internet?

The more I write, the more things I find myself needing to research. This has led to a war between books and internet in my favoritisms. I can’t quite decide which is actually more useful.

On the one hand, I like having everything at my fingertips all the time, and being able to type in a search-word to get where I want to go.

On the other hand, I don’t curl up with the internet in my comfy chair and just read. Books have a significance to them that the internet just can’t manage to match for me.

Recently, I’ve dived into researching origin myths and trying to form a cohesive history of certain characters. That history is based largely on mythology, so I need to be able to consult multiple resources at once. I’ve got enough good sites, especially Internet Sacred Texts Archive, but I keep making lists of books I want to buy and read. On top of that, finding origin tales is one of the hardest, most convoluted processes I’ve come up against. The major mythologies are easy enough of course, but even Australian Aboriginal tales or Siberian or Finnish origin tales are hard to find! Even harder was the search for ‘land ties’, which was a concept I’ve been developing in Inherent. I think that, in about two hours of searching, I found some mention of the idea on maybe three sites.

Maybe a book would have been that hard too. But somehow it’s easier to tie it all together in the book.

So what is it for you? Do you prefer books or the internet for research?

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3 Responses to “Tools of Writing: Books or Internet?”

  1. Internet wins hands down!

    Curling up with a book is all well and good when you’re reading for entertainment, but when you need information you just want to find it and apply it, so the net’s cross-referencing and meta-search capabilities can’t be beaten.

  2. I agree with Alex… I really don’t see research as a “curl-up” activity. There, (for me) is a difference between work and recreation.

    As for research… who needs it, I just make everything up! 😛

    Kidding, of course.

  3. Carey G Says:

    For “hardcore” research, I’m all for the internet. But “curling up with a book” allows me to find and learn things “by accident”, those happy coincidences that broaden your horizon beyond what you were looking for.

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