Sometimes, you're writing nothing but a blistering hot love scene, or a character study, or a drabble. In those cases, your canon is all you'll want or need. But there are other times - Yuletide, a Big Bang, your own original novel-in-progress, that sprawling AU epic that's been taking up all your spare imagination for weeks - when you're going to want the sort of details that add texture and depth to a story.
You may be blessed with a home library that includes just the reference books you want or a local library with sympathetic librarians. If not, there's always the Intarwebs ... but sifting treasure from trash can be a challenge.
Let's take a look at some ways to make the World Wide Web cough up the details that you need to write the story that you want.
With examples involving the historical novel Frontier Wolf.( Collapse )