Dear Writers: Do you ever worry…?

It’s Forum Fabulous Friday, and as such I’ve another wily question for all you writers out there:

Do you ever worry (just a little? in the back of your mind? even laughingly?) about the things you type into Google? How about the library books you check out?

I mean, if someone was to look at your search history and library records, what do you suppose they’d make of you?

As writers we must research for the sake of our work. That comes with the territory. But there’s not exactly a disclaimer you can tack on to your searches, is there? “Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just a little ol’ writer lookin’ up the most lethal, undetectable poison known to man! Ho-hum! Defintely not a person of interest!”

I do say this laughingly, but given the existence of things such as the Patriot Act one has to wonder if there isn’t some prolific backlist of people (innocuous writers!) pegged as potential dangers to the public health.

A friend of mine is writing a fictional novel about cannibals and as such has checked out a half dozen books on cannibalism, and probably a half dozen more about psychopaths and sadists.

Me, in the last couple weeks alone (for the sake of my novel in progress) I’ve looked up things like “what protection does a standard bank vault have?” “does chloroform have a smell?” and “smallest tracking devices.” Before that I did a bit of research on biometric security measures and CCTV cameras, and before that (oh, nine chapters back?) I did a HELL of a lot of research on blood.

To top it all off I just started watching Dexter—a surprisingly addictive show about a blood spatter analyst (who is actually a psychopath incapable of emotion) that has a secret life as a vigilante killer.

Christ, I hope I can finish this novel before a SWAT team drops out of the sky!!!

P.S. For a laugh, check out some of the great stuff that came up when I looked for ridiculous Google searches.


Forum Friday: Research in Writing

The floor is yours, fellow writers:

What is the most recent (or most interesting) thing you’ve researched for the sake of your writing?

I’ll get things rolling with a few things I’ve researched for my novel-in-progress recently:

  • Pretentious first names
  • Pretentious last names
  • Cloning (long-term research)
  • How to read people. I found this incredibly interesting (not to mention useful for narration!) and ended up spending several hours reading through search results. Here were some of my favorites: 1) How to Read Body Language 2) 18 Tips for Reading People) 3) 25 Common Gestures

How about you?