X – OXford Companion to Ships and the Sea

For the record, the only X entry in this sea-faring dictionary is Xebec, which is a type of small three-masted vessel.

Loved: This was one of my first purchases when I got serious enough with my original WIP to start buying research materials. It was a big step toward pursuing my writing as a career instead of simply a passion!

Learned: It’s a little sad how often I referred to this book while I wrote my sea-based WIP. I’ve got dog-eared pages and highlights all over the place. It was absolutely invaluable for getting all the little world-building details down. Plus, it was just cool to learn about all this stuff!


  1. I have not purchased a book for researching my book before, but I can see the possible necessity in my current WiP. Got my eye on a couple of titles. Thanks for the reminder!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  2. OK, I just commented on someone else's blog, who had pulled a load of X words out of the dictionary including xebec, that I thought it was a gazelle-like animal. Epic fail!

    I have not used a book for research before. I tend to be impatient to get to the writing, but then I'll waste time if I have to correct a lot of things afterwards, so it's something to consider. Can't rely on Google for everything!

  3. thanks for the new scrabble word! and i bet it was fun researching, i love the research!

  4. I like making a book fort out of the books I use for research. I think I might have a problem when it comes to collecting books.

  5. I remember checking out a bunch of books at the library for my MG story about a certain exotic destination. I had maybe 6-8 books and could tell the employee was SO curious about why I needed all the books. Because I have a slight addiction to amazon/book shopping, I try to find materials in the library, first. If I find that it truly is an amazing resource, THEN I'll buy it.

  6. My research books have their own bookshelf. I can't get rid of them because I may need them for another ms. :)
    Great post!

  7. You're a serious researcher. I like the researching part of writing myself. I can spend hours online or at the library.

  8. Research is vital and can be a lot of fun. But I wish I had a nickle for every time I've shot off on tangents -- for example, a typical research journey might start with "I wonder what sort of weapon might work best in this scene?" look up research on one thing and end up going something like:

    Weapons --> pistols --> dueling pistols --> famous duels --> Aaron Burr --> vice presidents --> Spiro Agnew --> bribery scandals --> Music Payola --> Alan Freed --> DJs --> Wolf-man Jack --> werewolves --> wait... what was I looking up originally???

    But the good thing is that even if you never used all the knowledge you gained from the book in your current WIP, it's in there and will probably pop up again, in some way, somewhere else. Knowledge is never wasted.

    Wonderful post!

    1. Haha - yes! That happens to me all the time too, but sometimes I discover shiny new ideas that way. ;)

  9. I can definitely see how this book would be helpful. Never knew that about Xebec. :)

  10. Research is my favorite part of writing. I learn so much and it looks like you did, too.

  11. I really need to start using more research material. I'm bad that way. I'm always impressed with people who do their research.