Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Looking for Trouble

The recent overabundance of news revolving around a certain televised trial has got me thinking: How much can be read into internet search histories? As writers, surely we have some of the strangest and most obscure logs of all. (For research—research, I swear!)


Have you ever scouted the web for information about your villain’s weapon of choice? Looked up the gory details of your MC’s most recent injury? I'm not trying to make you feel paranoid. (I'll save that for another post...) I'm just curious if any of you had ever given it much thought. What’re some things you’ve had to look up that might cause misunderstanding?

I'll start! How about a random research scenario:
  • How to treat a bullet wound
 ...Awkward, right? That would be fun to explain. Let's hear some of yours! :)


Anonymous said...

Oh, great. I hadn't given this a lot of thought.
Gulp. My list would be a treasure trove for prosecutors. Maybe I would get lucky and get the same prosecutors from that "certain televised trial" of which you speak.

Carrie Butler said...

Don't worry, Bryce. If anyone gets investigated, it'll be the poet. ;)

Oh yes. That would be very lucky.

Leah said...

Hahaha, the thought has crossed my mind a few times since I read the article with the woman's mother explaining the search terms.

...especially when I was looking up psychoactive drugs. Random bit of maybe true (maybe not) knowledge? Deadly Nightshade may have been used in small doses to dilate the pupils of women to make them look more beautiful. Say whaaat?

JeffO said...

I hadn't been following the case at all until yesterday, when I realized it included the legal concept of 'Lesser Included Offense,' which plays a role in my WiP. And as I read one of the stories, I thought about that search history of my own -- hmm, I've done a lot of searches on penal codes and murder/manslaughter, looked up information on jails and prisons, and, back when I was doing my NaNo, tried to get information on the going rate for marijuana.

Carrie Butler said...

@Leah: Psychoactive drugs, hm? Wait. Dialating women's pupils to make them look more beautiful? That's crazy!

@JeffO: Don't you love how you become attuned to things, after writing about them? It seems like they start sprouting up everywhere! Oh, and nice searches. I'm sure an investigator would find them -very- interesting. ;)

Laila Knight said...

I've researched white slavery, abuse, home invasions, uses of sword, knife, cutting through arteries, results of hair color (all areas of the body), body piercings, uses of a flame thrower (could have been called a blower)...etc. There are tons of things in my research history that could incriminate me...and yet they were all for the sake of writing. I worried about it for the first five seconds, then just tossed it aside.

Jeff King said...

What medieval plants were used for healing/treating wounds?

Name generator, was anouther search.

Carrie Butler said...

@Laila: Whoa! Now THAT is suspicious search material. I think you win. :) Here's to anti-paranoia!

@Jeff King: Nice! (Of course, now I'm curious about plants used for healing/treating wounds. Off to search! Haha)

Steven W said...

My last three searches, all for my current WIP (I promise!):

"Undetectable poisons"
"World Terrorist Organizations"
"Anachists Cookbook"

Yeah, my list might land me in Guantanamo Bay for a couple years. I have to start clearing that off :)

Carrie Butler said...

@Steven: Egads, man! Let's just hope the authorities will buy the excuse of a self-proclaimed professional liar. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Becca Puglisi said...

ROFL! Let's see...how to use a slingshot and 'bondage' are the most incriminating. That last one was research for a symbolism entry in our thesaurus, and the pictures that came up..Bleh. My search history is pretty boring for this reason. I'm always trying to avoid internet ickiness, lol.

And I see our button in your Blogroll, right above Kangaroos of the Scrubby Bush! Thanks for that!

Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

Carrie Butler said...

@Becca: Hah! Well, I guess we can be thankful you didn't look up the use of slingshots in bondage. Now THAT would be incriminating. :P

You're welcome! I love your blog and I'm happy to promote it. :)

April said...

Let's see...I've searched for types of poison, info on fraternal twins (my most recent search for a new story idea), funeral speeches, and a lot of really random things that I can't think of at the moment. It is a funny thing, isn't it? Us writers Google some very interesting things!

Carrie Butler said...

@April: Thanks for stopping by! You know, it wasn't all that long ago that I was looking up fraternal twins. Must be something in the air. ;)

Patrick said...

I have been doing this for years and watching CSI! I have been trying to come up with the perfect crime... Kidding kidding!

I wonder where a good place would be to look this kind of information up. We all can't be like Castle and see the crimes first hand.

Carrie Butler said...

@Patrick - I am alerting the authorities. Kidding! Well, if you're looking to write about crime, you can always go through old news stories for inspiration. :)