I thought I would compile a list of some of the great websites I use when writing my novels:
1) maps.google.com - I use this a lot. Why? Because of a new thing called 'street view' I can walk the streets of various cities. I can look around, look at the buildings, the trees, the architecture. It's a wonderful way to know what your characters are seeing. I choose a street and zoom down and describe it. I don't have to put on my jacket and actually go there anymore. I can finally be the recluse I've always wanted to be.
2) google.com - This is, of course, an obvious one. But I also do a lot of picture searching. For instance, sometimes I have a minor character come up and I want to give him/her a face. So I will type something like'Carl' or 'Carol' into the search bar and search the picture results for someone I can use as a character. That way, when I describe a character, I have something concrete in my mind.
3) foxtons.co.uk - This site is a real estate site. They sell, let, and buy properties and you can see pictures and 360 degree views of various properties. Why do I go here? I find houses or flats that my characters live and and use it for description. Do you see a theme here? I have issues with description and like to see what I need describe.
4) dictionary.com/ thesaurus.com - If you don't know what these are or don't use them, you should.
5) thenextbigwriter.com - a writing community is very important. You should get feedback on your chapters or stories. Sometimes writers get in the habit of loving their work too much, we all need to be brought down to earth on occasion. This site is great. I have been with them for over two years and my writing has improved ten fold. The key is reviewing... NOT GETTING REVIEWED. I mean it. Reviewing others work is so important. No better way to see what is wrong with your work than noticing what is wrong in what you read of others. Plus, the more you review, the more reviews you receive.
6) amazon.com - READ, READ, READ!
7) wikipedia - If you can't find it here, it probably doesn't exist.
8) http://www.quotegarden.com - Some people like quotes. Some people put them above every chapter.