I can’t flow without facts. T doesn’t exist in a vacuum. She is not a name on a page. She is worried, scared, angry. And she is looking for her husband. Worse: she’s been lying about him. So I have to know where he was meant to be. Two hours on Google maps and Wikipedia: what are the minerals in Kazakstan (and how do you spell it?), where else would he go to get the muds and the plants for the spa, rare and exotic. Finally I get T back to her husband’s inbox scrolling through and finding Tashkent — and eeek it’s time for me to make dinner. For real I mean, not on the page.
I discover later that it will make things too easy if she can get at his emails, so decide that it’s all on his laptop which he’s taken with him. And she doesn’t know the passwords to his accounts. … Nyah-ha-ha (rubs hands and twirls moustache) I know another way that will reveal his intended locations, but T and reader will have to wait. NaNoWriMo Discovery Draft continues!
What a useful day! Police, forensics, pathologists, barristers, dna, footwear, fibres, spatter analysis… real life crimes and creatively imagined and solved ones — by Paula Hawkins of Girl on a Train, no less. There she is reading the end of her crime story with compere Peter Gutteridge — we took part in it throughout the day. It all happened at Northumbria University in Newcastle, a conference for writers and readers.
Put on by New Writers North, I was lucky to spot it in my NAWE newsletter a couple months back, so I even got the early bird rate. There were agents, editors and some one-to-one sessions available too. But I was there for facts and procedures, and came away with gold. Like the fibres that might be on my victim’s clothes. And that, yes, telecoms forensics can trace a received text back to source — but it will take longer if it’s in another country. And of course, I still have more questions, but I got a good lead for those from DC Holmes (first name was NOT Sherlock).
Researching — plus a long train ride each way — is a great aid to hatching and plotting. Do it! Then there’s the writing part…