Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Pros at Cons: A Google Search

Good morning, all. I'm here today with a fun Google search feature. 

One of the best parts of writing a book is the pre-writing--the research one embarks on to see if a crumb of an idea is hearty enough to carry 90,000 words. It's an exploratory process, much like an astronaut in space. The discovery could lead to a new colony or abandonment. I'm either pushing forward or scrapping the plan. But I won't know until I kicking the tires. Clearly, I'm mixing my metaphors, but you get the idea.

I've recently been toying with an idea for a standalone crime thriller involving con artists. I love a good heist, caper, scam story where, despite my own morality, I'm rooting for the bad guy to get away with the crime. In real life, I want justice for the victim(s). I want retribution. But in fiction, I want the handsome and charming Danny Ocean to get away with stealing millions from a casino. Or in Out of Sight, I want to know Jack Foley can escape prison for good. In fact, any protagonist George Clooney is playing, I want to get away scot-free. There is something inherently thrilling about heists and those who pull them off. How do they do it? What kind of sociopath do they have to be?

To write a decent caper, I need to understand how it's possible (not probable) to pull off a plot of this magnitude. Because if I thought a murder puzzle was tricky to create, imagine trying to design the perfect theft. 

So then I got to wondering:


Who is the best con artist of all time? Is there a con artist hall of fame? Who gets the distinction of such an honor?

Turns out, it's Charles Ponzi. The namesake of the Ponzi Scheme.  

 He wasn't a great dude and we associate his name with swindling people out of their retirement savings. I'm not liking Ponzi schemes as a plot mechanism. What else is there?

 Ooh female con artists. Now we're talking. 

 Let's go back in time, shall we?

Big Bertha Heyman, a Prussian woman who swindled wealthy men out of money in the 19th century was the top of her game. It's certainly something I can work with. In fact, my protagonist will definitely be female and she will definitely be swindling a rich man out of something. But mine is a modern story with modern consequences. 

And then I got to thinking about counterfeiting. What goods are counterfeit? How could I use that in a story? And would a counterfeit object play into the plot?

There might be something I can do with watches. Maybe my protag tries to pull off a jewelry heist using a counterfeit Rolex?? Not totally on board yet, so more research is required. But you get the gist. 

So, lovely readers, where has a Google search taken you in the name of research? Sound off in the comments.


Karissa Laurel said...

I. Love. Capers!!! I hope we get to see you write one. Some of my all time favorite books and shows (Leverage, Lupin) involve a good con.

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Me too! I'm working on it.

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs