Thursday, September 29, 2011

Needed: Expert on Poisons, Current Church Laws, and Exotic Sports Cars

I frequently need experts.

Thanks to lots of reading and some weird hobbies, I already know all kinds of things about ghosts and the paranormal, sign language, palm reading, medical terminology, Tae Kwon Do, and the Beatles. Not all of this is terribly helpful when I need to know something about the horsepower of a Maserati, whether or not a suicide victim can be buried on hallowed ground, or how to poison someone and leave no trace.

Oh, I know there's stuff all over the Internet. I know I can Google just about anything I want to research. But most of what I find becomes repetitive and very frequently, does not go as deep into the subject as I need it to go. Besides, if I Google something like "How can I poison Great-Uncle Mort without leaving a trace of it in his body tissues?" don't you think someone might come knocking on my door?

Over the years I have "collected" an ER doc, a pharmacist, deputy US Marshall (now retired), several artists, instructors in Western Martial Arts (read: swords, armor, poleaxes, and other shiny things) and a foreign-car mechanic as experts whom I can go to with the occasional odd question. Much to their credit, none of them so much as blinks or twitches when I ask something like "If someone gets shot by a Glock at close range in the side of the body, will they just slide to the ground or will they get thrown across the room?" or "If a person was gifted with a 1992 Ferrari that needed massive engine work and some new paint, how much would that likely cost these days?" I even asked someone, when working on Saving Jake, what kind of injury a character could sustain that would kill him in about 10 to 15 minutes but still leave him able to have a last short conversation with the person that finds him. Try explaining why you need to know something like that to the average person!

I often wished that writers I know and pal around with could start a reference listing of real live experts that we could all access when we needed to know something off-the-wall or totally inappropriate in ordinary dinner conversation. Like what kind of prescription med has adverse reactions that could make a child appear to be possessed. Or at least, psychotic and violent.

Anybody else dealing with this sort of research issue???

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