Thursday, April 25, 2019

Google Me This: Research for a PI novel

Hello friends. Are you lounging in a post-Easter/Passover candy coma? Cuz I am.
My kids housed my marshmallow twists and candy fruit slices, but luckily for me, they don't seem to like macaroons. I have three canisters that--if I play my cards right--will last me until summer vacation.
So I am in the good position of having just started a new project. I am writing a private detective novel--super Veronica Marsy--and I am having a blast. I've penned roughly ten percent and I'm flying high. Starting a new manuscript is a bit like falling in love, isn't it? You start off smitten by the idea. You begin to plan all the wonderful things that will happen. You're eager to spend every waking minute together. You daydream about your book all the time. In the shower. In the car. At your kids' spring concert. And through it all, you just can't wait to see it again. You actually get butterflies in your stomach. You swoon.

And then you get to that middle part. You're sick of their shit. They aren't who you thought they were. You find yourself avoiding them. Dealing with them is just plain work and who wants that? The dialogue you found so cute in the beginning now sounds like nails on a chalkboard. And the cliches they dole out! Blech. And what's with these new characters coming and going? Who started the group hang?

And by the end you're just so glad to be done with it. You learned a lot. It was an experience you can take to your next They all add value.

Yeah, writing a book is like that.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a Google search post. And I'm going to do things a little differently with it. Rather than a Google autofill thing, I am going to list all the things I've googled while writing this PI novel. And just for context, my protagonist is a 24-year-old Jewish girl from Jersey (*cough*write what you know) who dropped out of college to take care of her mother who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Dark, but it has my chipper humor so it's all good.

Okay, here goes...
  1. Port in Elizabeth, NJ
  2. Port Newark in NJ
  3. Racketeering (actual definition)
  4. shtup -- spelling (it's Yiddish)
  5. East Jersey State Prison
  6. Names of Federal prisons
  7. famous Jewish delis
  8. Bugsy Siegel 
  9. Tzedakah box (spelling)
  10. Bergen County Parks
  11. How to get a PI license in NJ
  12. Do you have to be licensed to be a PI in New Jersey?
  13. Yelp reviews of strip clubs
  14. Who's on the $100 bill?
  15. Shul (again spelling)
  16. Slang for a drug high
  17. Teterboro Airport
  18. Image search for a 2005 Cutlass
  19. Docks in Bergen County
  20. Beastie Boys
And lastly

21. Stores that sell clogs (really)

So there ya have it. I'm surprised there is only 21 items on the list, but it's still early. I've only written one act. 

What's the weirdest thing you've ever googled for a book?
Sound off in the comments below.


Brenda St John Brown said...

I really want to know more about Yelp reviews of strip clubs. Like...are there actually Yelp reviews for strip clubs????? I recently googled US minimum wage in 1993 and science fair project ideas for a book.

Karissa Laurel said...

I love how writing a book makes you momentary experts in all kinds of obscure information. For my latest book, I've been learning about commercial fishing in North Carolina and what kinds of things various branches of the military carry on their tool belts when they deploy for a mission.

Carrie Beckort said...

It seems one of the topics I research most is slang in different regions - like do they call it soda or pop or coke. I like to have my dialogue sound as legit as possible :)

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