Calling All Writers

In real estate it’s location, location, location, but a teacher told me once in writing it’s research, research, research.

I am in need of facts and insight for my WIP — and I have no idea where to go. It’s the sort of thing where if I had a buddy who worked for the FBI, I might be able to pester them with questions in order to better understand the issues and write about the subject matter in a way that’s accurate.

But I don’t have such a buddy… And if I called my local FBI office and started asking them strange random questions… Well I’d end up a list somewhere. Heck, I’m probably going to end up on a list just for posting this and all the unusual things I’ve Googled over the past week.

I’m scratching my head and getting nowhere with internet searches and coming up empty looking for books on the subject.

What do you do when faced with a big black box of unknown? Just wing it? I suppose it’s fiction and I’m supposed to be able to do that…

If you’ve been faced with a research dilemma, what’s your solution?

12 Comments

  1. I’m not sure if i can help too much, but the first thing I recommend is looking for Law Enforcement forums and Murder Mystery writing forums if you’re looking for a detailed murder/crime scene.

    If you’re looking for a way to make a police officer character realistic, I suggest listening to ProArms podcast and reading anything by Massad Ayoob. A law enforcement officer for over 39 years and a consultant for the FBI as well.

    If you’re doing something dramatic, like a terror attack, basicly break it down into parts and only research the basic, non potentially threatening parts of it and wing the rest. Keep partsd of it very general or even throw in stuff you know won’t work so you won’t ever worry about someone taking your idea and making it happen. (Bruce Dern deeply regrets making one movie because he felt it was basicly stepby step instructions.) For example using a modified water jet butter as a long distance assasination tool. Yes water jets are used to cut various metals for custom parts now, but the laws of physics prevents them from being able to shoot someone two miles away. It just won’t happen.

    I understand your hesitation in writing somehting like this now days. Just realise that every post you have on your blog shows that you are a writer and that you have no ill will towards anyone. If for some reason you are checked out, they are going to see this post by you and realize thst along with this and your other posts that you have no plan other than to entertain your readers.

    So have at it and good luck! 🙂

    1. Thanks Gene for your response!
      I will look for the ProArms podcast and Massad Ayoob.

      Good point about not writing it so detailed it’s basically a “how to”. I always hear people complain ‘oh that couldn’t really happen’ but hey, it’s not my job to explain how to do it!
      thanks again 🙂

      1. Glad to be of help. 🙂

  2. Miranda Lois

    It’s kind of hard to tell what you are looking for. If it’s criminology stuff, there are crime scene investigation textbooks and handbooks. If it’s internal politics/procedures, time to watch some crappy crime-drama television shows with a big ol’ glass of wine, then wing it!

    1. Thanks Miranda!
      The crime is um… cyber in nature.

      I never even thought of crime dramas – good idea. I wonder if there’s anyone coming up with an episode with a mad computer hacker 😉

  3. You’re right about the research, it’s so important. Does it have to be FBI or can it be a regular cop? They love to talk about their work. Maybe you have a friend who knows someone in law enforcement? Even a friend of a friend. Have them introduce you. Take them out for a couple of beers and pick their brains. Or watch “Castle”. 🙂

    1. I suppose it wouldn’t have to be FBI… That is a good idea. I have a couple friends that are cops, and while they might not know specifically about my issue, it will interrogate them, especially if beer’s involved 🙂

  4. I am such a coward lol. I tend to avoid things that I know I haven’t got a chance in hell of finding out about lol.

    Good luck 🙂

    xx

    1. Thanks Vikki. I don’t know what I’m thinking… 😉

  5. mlochner3

    The solution is obvious – you need to commit said “cyber-crime”, get yourself arrested (take excellent notes while being investigated), then at your preliminary trial just explain to the judge that you were doing research for your book and then walk out. I’m sure he’ll understand and drop all charges. But if you need to know about the court system and prosecuting cyber-crimes then you don’t want to tip your hand at the preliminary hearing. Wait until after the judge or jury has reached their verdict, then tell the judge about the research and again, just walk out of the courtroom. This will give you firsthand knowledge of the investigation and prosecution of cyber-crimes.

    In the interest of being supportive, I volunteer to be the victim of your cyber-crime. It’ll speed up the process because I will immediately fill a complaint with police so we can get the research underway.

    One piece of advice I’d like to offer is that you take really good notes because I’m not sure you will want to go to these lengths again, in the name of research. Good luck!

    1. That is utterly brilliant! The only flaw in your genius plan is I’m too old — my perpetrator is a minor. Darn. Otherwise I’d be all over it. 😉

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