We’ve all seen those funny T-shirts and mugs warning people that THE WRITER is around and ready to put them into the next story. One would think that people would tend not to want to disclose personal info once they’ve been warned “Be careful what you say, you could wind up in my next book.”
I adore creating characters that I have (almost) total control over, they take my advice with little argument and even though sometimes they need a bit of nudging, they don’t disappoint. And the best part, I can KILL someone off if I so desire! However I have found that a writer does have to be careful when doing research…
There was the, time I needed help in “hiding” a murder that would eventually be found once the medical examiner knew what he was looking for after exhuming the body. So I called an acquaintance who worked as an investigator at the local MEs office, explained that I was researching a story and asked my questions. He was very cooperative and helpful — until I thanked him and was ready to hang up the phone. I was then subjected to a few minutes of his questions making sure that everything was okay between my husband and me.
Considering the topics that writers discuss on the phone with editors, publishers and critique buddies, we must truly keep the NSA hopping. Paranoia set in one day when my sister and I were discussing a murder scene and we both thought we heard a few clicks on the phone, every minute or so after that one of us would speak clearly into the phone and state this is for a fiction story we were formulating.
I have discovered that my husband is not appreciative of those sudden lightbulb moments I get after trying to work out a scene and somewhere in the middle of dinner and I say “Oh yeah, I have to make so&so do that!” It took him a while to realize I wasn’t talking about some long lost relative turned up during a genealogy search a long lost cousin was conducting. Of course sometimes I talk in my sleep and mumble about all these juicy tidbits that leave him wondering exactly what I do all day.
And of course all of the research I do as a writer, both for my fiction and my alter-ego journalist, turns into all of this useless trivia knowledge, but G-d forbid I can hold my own during a couples’ Trivial Pursuit game.
Yep, being a writer is certainly an adventure.