Know Your Shit or Wing It? by Gina Fluharty
This month it’s all about research. Hopefully, we’ll all have discovered something cool during our explorations for our books.
Some writers wing it. That’s fine and dandy but I’ll tell you this—I’m not their reader.
I prefer to know my shit. Not for nothin’, I’m an educated reader and I have a nose for bullshit. I should. My dad is a born bullshitter, so I learned at the knee of the best. I can smell a lie like a fart in a confessional so when an author is trying to write about subject matter that just isn’t so, I check out and put that book down. If you’re writing about a cop, you better go talk to an actual cop. If you’re writing about a dyspeptic dentist, you better know the consequences of that. If your hero is a mechanic that’s all thumbs and no brains but still manages to fix a multi-million dollar crane, he’d better have a fucking grease money fairy in his bibs.
Well, Gina? What lengths have you gone to in your research, you may be asking. I’m friends with a retired Sheriff from a major county in the greater Portland area. We have coffee and he lets me quiz him like a game-show contestant. My brother-from-another-mother is an expert in martial arts and we talk about the entire spectrum of knock-down, fight-for-your-life fights. He’s also a voracious book-whore and lets me pilfer his library.
Best thing I’ve found in my research? A book of curses. And yes, I plan to use them. Settle down, settle down. In a book, of course.
Readers—what do you like to take away from a story?
Authors—what are some of your research joys?