So, I mentioned I was working on a novel called Push Me and posted an excerpt last week. Well, it’s done–I’ve even put it through a few revisions with the help of betas. It’ll probably get shelved for a bit until I figure out what to do with it. When I write, I get sucked into the world so completely that it’s all I think about, so I’m glad when I’m finally done and can take a breath and catch up on life again. It’s not just what gets written down either. I do hordes of research to get into character’s heads. In this case, some of it was truly disturbing and because we’re all tight, I’m going to show you what a descent into madness looks like from the point of view of Google searches. (For the record, I sleep very little while writing like this…and drink a ton of Mtn Dew.)
It starts simple…
Definition of inordinate (I look up words frequently to make sure I’m using them correctly.)
It gets weirder immediately…
Horsemen of the Apocalypse Wiki
Google alternate words for Pusher, Pusher Paranormal, Psychic Techniques for Pushing (Don’t go there–that way lies madness.)
Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist
Does powdered sugar go bad?
IMDB cast of Die Hard searching for character names
Chess pieces, chessboard positions, how to call in a game
Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx quotes, Karl Marx (This way lies madness too.) (Over an hour spent on this.)
Temporal disturbance, Temporal paradox, time travel.
Then, I did two other searches on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (all for one line in the book basically.)
When to use “nor” and not “or.”
(Then, I spent an entire day working on the short story The Cold and Lovely Moon–so there were a bunch of searches related to that.)
Sodium Pentothal (I can’t for the life of me figure out why I look this up so often, but I do. I typically need to confirm its effects and my spelling.) (It was a top sites link for me for a few days after this last time.)
Coldcock (one or two words)
grey vs. gray
towards vs. toward
(I spent some time looking up when Zingers would be back on store shelves, but that’s just responsible internet searching.)
Then, I spent a looooong time trying to do simple math and figure out the perimeter of square miles until I finally asked my husband to explain it to me, but my searches looked like: How many feet in a square mile, what does a square mile look like, what does two hundred feet look like, how many people can fit in a square mile, if something is two square miles how far will you walk around it? (I made it to Calculus in high school, people…and this is where it got me.)
Synonyms for wary, favorite, addiction, craving, covet, and need.
Then, I started looking up the length of all local lakes to figure out how big a lake would need to be where you couldn’t quite see very much on the other side.
How many acres in a mile?
Did a Google search for police precinct. (As you do…)
Definition of the word: scads.
How many feet in a mile? (I tend to look things up repeatedly when it comes to math.)
Definition of relief (as in shadows and relief)
Irish last names (several searches)
Sleeper Cell, Sleeper Agent, Clandestine cell system (over an hour’s worth of research)
Psychology definitions of: conditioned stimulus, conditioned response, collectivism, causation, countertransference, conjunction fallacy, displacement, anticipatory coping, consistency paradox, chunking, anxious-avoidant insecure attachment, transference, association, and autokinetic effect. (spent a lot of time on this too.)
Sunrise and Sunset for Oregon
Parts of rowboats, images of rowboats, size of rowboats, what traditional rowboats look like. (Be the rowboat, Wendy!)
Then I spent an hour on Youtube studying how to load and use a 9 mm. Cocking. How to load a magazine. How to check the slide. I’ve watched more videos on guns and guns safety than anyone else I know who never plans to own a gun.
I went back to studying sleeper agents. (Because I wanted to.) (Don’t judge me.)
Spinal cord memory, parts of the brain, how instinct is processed, what the brain does, how memories are processed.
synonym for: make excuses
synonym for presumably
Several “They’ve Killed Kenny” Southpark montage videos
Definition of short-circuit (partly to see if it had a dash.)
Snow globe (one word or two)
Then I watched a video of a golden retriever taking a bath in a sink–no relation to this book at all–sometimes you just need that.
How many feet in a mile? (headslap–I do this every book.)
Stressed-out (dash or no dash)
What does 100 feet look like? OH! That turned up this awesome site for seeing distance: http://www.prisonpolicy.org/zones/thousand_feet.html (Obviously, I’m using it for reasons never intended.) (Obviously that’s true of most of these searches.)
Then, I listened to Pop Goes the World a few times because I was preparing to destroy my government compound.
Hummer seating, Hummer door images, Hummer door compartments
What’s on a doctor’s wall? doctor’s licenses, doctor’s certificates, medical school diplomas
Sound wave (one word or two)
Can a planet be knocked out of orbit? (I’m ashamed to say there were several searches on this.)
Photographic vs. Eidetic memory
leach vs. leech
Chess board marked, Chess strategies
How long would it take to die if your femoral artery was cut?
How long would it take to die if both your femoral arteries were cut? (Yeah, I’m on watch lists.)
Random sentence generator. (I needed a random sentence, okay? Sometimes you do.)
The 50 most famous movie quotes of all time
Quotes from the Shining
Synonym for soft, shift, turn, love, move, and even.
Dissociative Fugue State
Upper torso stab wounds, shoulder stab wounds, recovery from shoulder stab wounds
So, there you go. Fourteen nights of insomnia and fourteen days of ignoring my house and kids and I’ve written 69K and really wedged myself onto watch lists. Good times. Good times. It’s even missing quite a lot of searches because, sometimes, I’d bounce from place to place without opening up new windows.
Yikes, huh? That’s what it’s like in my head. It’s scary. I do this so you don’t have to. Also, I’m glad I live in a time with the internet.
That was so cool! It was especially cool because I’m one of the lucky readers that got to read this book. I find myself thinking how does Wendy know this stuff! I have heard a chess game called out loud but I could never do it myself…Is a rowboat big enough to hold two people lying down?…How big is this lake that you can’t see it from the other side?…How does Wendy know all these Psychic ability words. NOW I KNOW! I wish you would put this up for every book. So much fun.
You also know how little of that actually makes it into the story. It’s all just background stuff I need to know to be able to write the sentences…to throw out plausible story lines. I did ALL that research on distances just to put reasonable amounts in scenarios. It’s insane how much research I do that never shows up.
I just noticed that all the research I did into how fast the average person can run and so on didn’t make it in. I bet I jumped away to another page. I’m going to stop doing that and just open up another window so I can do this at the end of books.
So does powdered sugar go bad?
It doesn’t…not really. Here is the ENTIRE section from Push Me that resulted from that ten minutes of research: But here she was—having French toast with Harris. It was even sprinkled with powdered sugar. If she had powdered sugar it had probably solidified into one lump…and that was a big if. Wow, she really needed to go grocery shopping.
But I couldn’t have her say, “It was probably rancid,” because she magically knew that powdered sugar wasn’t likely to go rancid. *headslap* This is why I ask the tough questions, people…for you…or something…or because I’m ridiculously particular about what ridiculous things I’ll say.
Isn’t it nice that I keep my fictional inner dialogue to factual fictional things? Okay, I’ll stop talking to myself now–online anyway–I’ll continue offline because that’s what I do…or I talk to imaginary people.
Bugs can get into it too 😉 Same with flour; that’s why mine goes in the freezer.
When the kids were gluten-free, we kept a lot of the flours and mixes in the freezer. Haven’t as much since then. No one mentioned bugs on the sites I looked at–because that’s what I was expecting. I bet sugar ants would love it.
I get very paranoid about weevils XD I divide it up into big ziplocs, doesn’t take too much space. Oh, probably. Ants are big on sugar.