I was googling the value of cocaine the other day when it struck me it wouldn't look very good if a police officer stumbled across my browsing history. It was only research for my novel (I'm about as gangsta as Mary Poppins), but my next questions, 'Do police need a warrant to search your storage facility?' and 'Reasons why sniffer dogs retire' would hardly have put them at ease.
Still, I bet my searches are very tame compared to those of crime writers. After all I've also asked google, 'How old is pocahontas?' 'How much is a small piñata?' and um, examples of 'men with big curly hair'.
Curious to know what was in other writers' browsing histories, I put the question to Twitter. Here's what they said. I'll leave it to you to guess the genre and possible plot of their works of FICTION* (*I hope, anyway).
— Fiona Mitchell (@FionaMoMitchell) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet The effective range of a hunting rifle.
— Lindsay Bamfield (@LindsayBamfield) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet 'flies and free will' was on my work computer. Can't remember why.
— Julie McDowall (@ariel_mcdowall) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet serial killers... which freaks my partner out when he comes home late & wierd stuff pops up in google ads.
— Viccy Adams (@ViccyIsWriting) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet For my novel, Queen of the World, I googled the jetstream, macaws, Suzi Quatro, biodegradable paint & when Crossroads was on.
— Sal Page (@SalnPage) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet Erm, research-related? How about 'top london landmark suicide spots - Google search' FYI I didn't find what I was looking for!
— HJ Hampson (@heatherjhampson) January 12, 2014
@EmilyBenet Stalkers, texting and mobile phones! (For a short story though)
— Jan Baynham (@JanBayLit) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet Numerology, eco houses, and types of tree, apparently! Not quite sure what story that's all adding up to...
— Emily Wells (@Techpoet_org) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet @Isabelwriter *chloroform doses teenage girl**chloroform burns**chloroform administration* Themes are important, I find.
— Lucy Inglis (@lucyinglis) January 11, 2014
@EmilyBenet I've researched poisons...especially ones that are undetected or common items. Also torture. But it's common for crime writers?
— Viviana (@viviloana) January 11, 2014
@TamsynTweetie @EmilyBenet how long it takes to die from a severed hand, whether quick lime dissolves bodies & sentence for manslaughter!
— CL Taylor (@callytaylor) January 11, 2014
What about you? What's ended up in your browsing history in the name of research?