Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Going all the way



What are writers willing to do for their craft?

Mystery writers will go a long way for verisimilitude. NorCal Sisters in Crime took up arms at a gun range a couple of weeks ago, to experience what so many protagonists do.

Writers go on ride-alongs with local police and sometimes take on the jobs of their protagonists. I myself risk sniffing too much glue in order to carry out the miniature projects my character does.

How important is this? Of course we need to get our "facts" straight, and experiencing the weight and feel of a gun can be useful as we write.

So, should we walk down a dark alley in the worst part of town late at night, hoping we'll have the experience of a mugging or a gunshot wound?



Marie Curie, who discovered radioactivity (loosely speaking), left many notebooks and diaries for posterity. The problem is that they're all still radioactive and whoever wants to read them has to be carefully monitored. Biographers have to sign a medical release before being granted access.

What's the most dangerous/risky thing you've ever done for your craft?

Readers: what would you like to see writers do?

9 comments:

Terri Thayer said...

I got chills when I read about Marie Curie's radioactive notebooks. My eighth-grade science teacher had hands that were peeled raw from radiation poisoning. I assume, she never told us. She wore thin clear gloves all the time. She was a wonderful teacher, but I wasn't surprised when I knocked her purse over and a whiskey bottle fell out.

As for putting myself in danger, I use a rotary cutter most every day. And scissors! Oh my.

Anonymous said...

With a vivid imagination and virtual reality, you can experience alley ways, etc. That way, you have more time to get the word count up.....xoxoxox

Betty Hechtman said...

How interesting about Marie Curie's notebooks.

I went to a gun day with the Kiss of Death chapter of Romance Writers of America. The morning was spent learning about them. The afternoon was spent at a gun range. I was very worried about that part. I'd never shot a gun and was afraid I would shoot my foot or somebody else's.

I based my concern on a college bowling class and things I did with the ball. Thankfully, I did better with a gun than a bowling ball.

Camille Minichino said...

I haven't been able to bring myself to actually shoot on the range, for the same reasons, Betty.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I did a lot of target practice and skeet shooting when I was younger, and that experience has served me in good stead. When I was a news intern (not a craft, but related to my book character), I got sent out by a political editor to observe the comings-and-goings of a notorious politician. I was lurking around some bushes at the bottom of the pol's driveway when a couple of huge guard dogs came snarling my way. I skeedadled right out of there! I never would have made the grade as a paparazzi (spelling?)!

Camille Minichino said...

skedaddling or not, I'm impressed, Kathryn!

Sheila Connolly said...

I've done not one but two gun days, with different organizations (and I'm horrified by how much I enjoyed them both). I've tried glassblowing--which takes quite a bit of practice to get good at. And for one of my next books, I've been exploring local foods (oh, poor me): I've made cheese, I've watched a pig being butchered, and I plan to pluck a free-range chicken any day now. Ah, the writers' life!

Camille Minichino said...

Those activities count way up there on my squeamish scale, Sheila.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I've taken a community police academy course and gone to a firing range. I've also visited ferrets, potbellied pigs and other pets I've never owned, all in the name of research. And now I'll be a bit cryptic: a member of my family experienced something that I intend to use in a story someday --something that never should have happened, and I wish it had only been fiction...
--Linda