A while back Kay posted about a Writer’s Police Academy that is being held this August at the International Public Safety Training Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The conference – which includes sessions on police procedures and the opportunity for some shooting range practice – sounded like just what I needed to give my mystery-story-in-process a shot of realism. Had I perfected the ability to be in two places at one time, I’d have signed up in a New York minute.
Though the timing didn’t work out, the Academy got me thinking about what other things I’d put on my list of Things To Do, in an effort to infuse my stories with a little extra realism. In no particular order, here are a few things I came up with:
Ready, Aim, Fire!
As those who read the scene in my May Short Story post will recall, my Regency WIP includes a feisty heroine who gets in a spot of trouble at a house party with a bow & arrow. Having never shot (or even held one), my ability to describe her actions with any degree of detail are sadly limited to what I’ve read on the subject. Getting some real-life experience is definitely on my list and should be fairly easy to obtain, though finding a left-handed instructor might be a challenge. The hero in the same book has more than a little experience with firing a gun (he served in the Army, after all). While there are shooting ranges aplenty that I could avail myself of, what I really need to find is one that specializes in antique weapons. After all, firing a rifle or pistol from 1814 is likely to be a bit different than one from today. I will definitely need to do some more research for this item.
Police training for novices
My Cozy Mystery WIP – that’s Cassie & Nicolai’s story for you Friday Writing Sprint fans – features a police detective along with an FBI agent. Sadly, I’ve never held either of those positions, so my knowledge doesn’t extend any further that what I’ve read or seen on television. Conveniently, a flyer promoting an upcoming “Citizens Police Academy” just arrived in the mail. With crime scene investigation and an officer-ride-along, it sounds like just the ticket for increasing my knowledge. Plus, you get a “free” shirt! The class doesn’t start until the fall, but I’ll definitely be sending in my application. Fingers crossed that I’m one of the lucky 25 participants.
Though it’s not yet a WIP, when I finished my NaNo contemporary story a while back, I sketched out a follow-on story involving a group of “digital nomads” who are spending a year (or maybe not that long) sailing and working around the world. While heading out to sea for a year might be taking the whole research idea a little too seriously, it would obviously be nice if I had some basic knowledge about boating and a feel for how, logistically, living and working on a boat would work. I could Google “how does a sailboat work”, but I’m guessing it would be a lot more fun to actually spend some time on a sailboat; preferably with a shirtless, hunky-guy for extra inspiration. Maybe, for that extra dose of realism, I should visit a tropical island or two as well – all in the name of research, of course!
I’m sure I’ll think of other things to add to the list, but for now I better get back to doing some actual writing.
So, what would you put on your bucket list, for the sake of infusing your writing with a little extra realism?