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4 - Tourist information Sometimes libraries arenít much help because information youíre looking for changes frequently. This is particularly true in travel writing, where you can end up looking foolish if a hotel or restaurant has closed down since your visit, or a museum or gallery has changed its opening hours. Thatís when areaís tourist information is invaluable.
5 - People If you havenít found what youíre looking for using any of these methods, or if you want more details than average reference book provides, youíll need to look for someone in know who can help you out. For general information, museum curators, gallery owners and librarians are often very helpful, but sometimes youíll need something more specific. In that case, best tactic can be to find an association related to topic. If you want to find out about details of Civil War for your battle scene, is there a re-enactment society near you? Thereís bound to be someone who can answer your questions, and you might even get a chance to see atmosphere of a Civil War battle for yourself and pick up some details youíd never have thought to ask about.
Finally, if that fails, fall back on theory that everyone on planet is connected by just six links and ask everyone you know (work colleagues, fellow writers group members, friends and relatives) whether they know anyone who might be able to help you. Tell them itís for a book (or magazine article, or whatever) and most people are glad to help Ė thatís beauty of being a writer.
Stephanie Cage is a writer and researcher based in Berkshire, UK. She writes regularly for The Agony Column and newbooksmag and has also been published in e-Quip (the e-zine of the British Society of Comedy Writers) and Link (the magazine of the National Association of Writersí Groups), where this article first appeared. Visit her at www.stephaniecage.co.uk