Obscure, but handy, facts

If your spy kills someone in Africa, hyenas may eat — and digest — all the evidence, even the bones. Kids books can be a great source of plot-turning trivia.
These come from National Geographic.

50 Awesome Facts (About Everything) | Mental Floss



‘A rose by any other name …’

How do you name your characters? Some of mine just pop into my head, but I have favorite names that I keep starting with and need to change later.
One character got his name when I saw a comination of letters on a license plate and wondered what it could possibly mean.
I also use Social Security data to pick names that were popular in the decade my characters were born or to find surnames I might not think of.
Here’s a list that explains what some names mean. I can imagine calling a woman who owns a cupcake shop Baxter.

30 Family Secrets Hiding in English Surnames


It makes you feel old

For quite a few years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, has published its annual Mindset List. It started as a way to remind professors of what their incoming freshmen know and don’t know.
The Mindset List is also a great resource for writers who forget how quickly time passes. The first item on the new list, which was released Tuesday, is a sad reminder that this year’s college freshmen were starting kindergarten on 9/11.