The Internet, Ray Bradbury, and… That Other Thing

I know several authors who shut off their Internet while they write. That blows my mind. Shut off the Internet? How do they breathe?

Yes, I’ll admit freely that I’m one of those people who can’t function if the Internet is not working. For one thing, I communicate with my critique partners and other essential contacts primarily online. If I’m off, I’m out of touch with what needs to get done.

But let’s be honest, even during a personal day all to myself, I’m often still online. On regular days, I get up early in the morning or stay up later in the evening to take care of to do list items, and I’m plugged in then, too. There is rarely a time for me when the Internet isn’t within arm’s reach. And that definitely goes for when I’m writing.

Why? One word: procratstina — ahem. Research.

This is when you look at From Light to Dark and then back at me and say, “Um, Irene. Those worlds aren’t real. What research did you need to do for that?”

Lots, actually. First of all, I included puzzles throughout the novel, and I needed to double-check their accuracy. The Internet helped me speed up the process. In addition to that, Dark World has a large collection of plant and insect life that I wanted to feel authentic. The Internet allowed me to search for swampy things I could use. Finally, I wrote a scene in which a main character got punched in the nose. Never having been punched in the nose before, I felt I should probably look up what that feels like.
…(okay, for that one I also interviewed a few people in person, but the point is that you wouldn’t believe how much useful?less information is available online when you’re writing fantasy).

The same goes for my other work.  Whether it’s a story about a place that exists in the “real” world or not, I rely on my Internet connection to keep my research options open at all times. You never know when I might decide to write about the thing… or… that other thing. 🙂

Do you need the Internet to do your work? Is it a distraction, as the great Ray Bradbury said, or is it a help? Maybe a little bit of both?  🙂

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2 responses to “The Internet, Ray Bradbury, and… That Other Thing

  1. I’m finding that it’s more and more of a distraction. Don’t know if it’s getting cooler and cooler, or if I’m getting weaker and weaker. The problem with internet research is that it could literally go on forever! At least, in the old days, the librarian would eventually turn off the lights and kick you out. 🙂

  2. I think it’s always getting cooler and cooler, and we’re just too weak to resist! It’s like going to a party (or a library, if you prefer) and having to leave early. Someone needs to just kick me out once in a while. 🙂

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