Ordinary People: research and party games

May 17, 2014

I love researching for my stories. Most of the time I can do the research online but sometimes I have to go places and talk to people.

When I was writing The Courage to Love, I traveled a few hours north to the Coringa area in Queensland to the land David and Carl moved to. With Ordinary People, I spent hours on the phone with a nurse friend and made a couple of visits to the local police station.

I don’t know about other people, but I always feel a bit nervous when I enter a police station. It’s like they’ll notice something about me that isn’t quite legal and I’ll get caught there while they extract interminable explanations from me. And I just know they all recognise me now when I walk down the street now. All those questions about kidnapping and drugging people surely got me noticed. Without the answers, Ordinary People would have been pure fantasy.

Hibiki Scotch

I used to have a friend who was a police officer. His favourite party game was one where you had to describe something that you passed on the way to his place before he gave you your first shot. He and his mates would set a situation up, like a car parked a few blocks away or someone standing on a corner. Driving to parties at his place were quite nerve-wracking. Funnily enough my descriptions of things I saw became very detailed after a few shots!

How much do remember of a trip when you’re driving from one place to another?

4 Responses to “Ordinary People: research and party games”

  1. Susan says:

    If it’s a routine trip, I remember very little, as I’m driving on auto-pilot. If it is someplace new, I’ll remember much more.

  2. H.B. says:

    My memory recall is actually pretty good if it concerns other or special events.

    I’ve always found it interesting to see how far an author would go in the name of research.I don’t think I would have been able to go into a police station and asked about drugging people and kidnappings.

  3. eemontgomery says:

    I was there maybe twenty minutes, my first visit. By the time I left there were five police officers crowded into the small reception area. I was only talking to one of them; the others were pretending to look busy. I swear I heard laughter as the doors closed behind me when I left.

  4. eemontgomery says:

    I used to work in far North Queensland and had to drive through sugar cane farms and over a range to get to work. There was an old bridge that seemed to be held together by rust and sheered bolts. The surface of it was made from old railway sleepers bolted onto a steel frame. The car used to bounce across it and the sleepers (most of the bolts had loosened over the years) rattled alarmingly. There were days I’d arrive at work in the morning, or at home in the evening, and have no memory at all of driving across that bridge.

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