I’m in that exciting, anxious, slightly-nerve-rattling, stage of writing a book…the research. I have a pretty good idea where my story is going, and who the characters are, and now I have to fill in the details… of character, of place, of clues, etc. So I hit the Internet in a big way, researching hundreds of different things, from forensics to the different ways of folding a pair of socks, from Blue Chip Stamp Collecting to different kinds of urinals.
For this book, I am researching things like currency collecting, cigars and how financial managers embezzle money from their clients. I am also checking out how some people have sold stolen goods on ebay… and how they got caught. And I’m looking into dozens of other things. I print up everything I find and stick it in an ever-expanding binder I call my "Murder Book" (which also includes my ever-changing outline and, once I start writing, pages of my work-in-progress).
And as I do this research, in the back of my mind I am still plotting… during my last book, while researching cars that were popular in 1962, I stumbled on a fact that significantly changed the entire story…and for the better.
The Internet is a wonderful research tool. Within minutes, I can find an expert, a website, and a discussion group for any subject I’m interested in. I’ve already found a half-dozen experts in currency collecting and cigars who have inundated me with useful information.
Another great tool is other authors… I have found the DorothyL mailing list… a collection of mystery authors and fans…a wonderful resource for information and useful contacts.
So now, with one good hand and one not-so-good-one, I am browsing and surfing and procrastinating… putting off writing while I gather facts. But I can also feel the time slipping away…the book is due March 30th, and the holidays are coming up, so I don’t have much time before I have to do the really important work.
Making stuff up.