I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Write what you know.” If you haven’t, I’ll just assume you’ve been living under a rock and will also not know what Google is, rendering this post utterly meaningless to you.
I’ve always thought it a stupid concept to write only what you know. A serious writer, in my opinion, uses what they know as a basis, but researches what they don’t know and combines the two to make a story. Maybe not for every story. But limiting oneself to writing only what is known is a waste of a gift.
Having said that, I’ve spent a lot of time researching. Thanks to the trusty internet, it’s possible to find everything—and I mean everything—I’d ever want or need to know when I’m filling in holes in an idea for a story. It was only recently that it occurred to me just how disturbing of an individual I would seem if a stranger were to look at my Google history. Some of the things I’ve researched (and mind you, this is only a small sampling) are:
- How to embalm human body parts.
- The cremation process from death to ashes.
- Is it legal to abandon a newborn baby?
- Where is prostitution legal?
- Different types of small handguns.
- What happens when human flesh dies and rots?
- Prison layouts.
- How much OxyContin causes an overdose?
- What are the most powerful prescription pain killers?
- What happens to a child when both parents die?
- Reconstructive surgery for victims of NF (or flesh-eating disease).
- Quick murder methods other than shooting or stabbing.
- Art made out of body tissues and bones.
When my dad read my Impossible Words book, he made the comment that he was shocked at the dark, eerie, disturbing concepts in some of my stories. Everyone I know views me as that sweet, innocent young woman who thinks only of fresh-baked cookies, clouds in the shapes of bunnies, and bright, yellow daisies. Yet give me a pen and some paper, and you wouldn’t believe what sick stuff pops into my head.
This is probably why I like to write. I’m only violent when I kill spiders (which is self-defense, really), I don’t do drugs, and I get queasy at the sight of blood. Yet my Google search history would lead you to believe otherwise. Writing allows me to tap into that part of my brain that is otherwise hiding from the evils of the world. It’s awesome.
Fellow writers, what kinds of creepy stuff has come up in your research?