Writers Do Have Some Pretty Suspicious Internet Search History…
My internet search history has to have me on someone’s suspicious-people-to-watch list somewhere. As an author of a YA thriller, I’ve had to research some pretty unusual things. Sometimes they tend to be a little dark; hence, my concern about what the internet watchdogs think I’m doing with this information. And sometimes I end up spending way more time than I ever imagined trying to figure out a very tiny and very specific detail just to get a description as accurate as I can. But that’s the fun of research. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can watch videos and read articles and learn way more than you were expecting about so many things. So here are ten of the more unusual things I’ve had to research, in no particular order. And to whoever is reviewing my search history, I promise it’s all because of fictional characters!
- How to pick a lock
There are a lot of articles and videos about how to pick a lock. If you want to learn how to pick pretty much any kind of lock with pretty much any kind of tool, you can probably learn how on the internet. I may or may not have tried this one a few times myself. All for the purposes of accuracy, of course.
- How to hotwire a car
Hotwiring a car definitely seems a little more nefarious to me than picking a lock, but there’s no shortage of information online about how to do it. I’m not adventurous enough to have attempted this on one of my own cars, but I have to admit I’d love to see if I could actually make it work.
- How to tiptoe quietly
Believe it or not, there is more than one way to tiptoe. And there are videos—illustrated guides, even—to show you how. This was actually a fun one to research and practice and figure out how certain characters would choose to walk silently. Because people with different personalities definitely tiptoe differently. Yup, it’s a fact.
- The likelihood of dying if you’re shot in various places on your body
All I can say is yikes. And don’t get shot. And that I would not make a good doctor.
- How to shoot a gun
Not necessarily how to pull the trigger, but how to hold a gun, the sound it makes when it’s shot, and the recoil and the emotions that could be associated with having to shoot a gun.
- The fanciest-looking cheesecake you can make
It’s not all about death and destruction. Even characters in thrillers need a hobby. And, yes, this made me as hungry for cheesecake as you’d imagine.
- Various martial arts moves
Jujitsu, Karate, Krav Maga, Kung Fu, Taekwondo: these are just some of the types of martial arts I researched. There are some amazing things people with serious martial arts skills can do. Watching these videos made me want to take some lessons myself!
- Ways to track people’s location using cell phones
There must seriously be a lot of people trying to track down other people because there are so many articles about this, and a lot of them are about how to do it secretly. Not sure what that says about our trust levels, to be honest.
- As many specifics as possible about the dorm rooms at one particular university
Are there different kinds of rooms for different years in school? How many people typically live in each kind of room? Are there communal bathrooms? Is there carpet on the floors or not? To all the people who posted video tours of their dorm rooms at this school recently, thank you.
- How to escape from zip ties
The video demonstrations of this make it look easy, but I have a feeling it still wouldn’t feel that great to do, especially if it takes a few tries to break free.
- Bonus # 11! As much as I could find out about the witness protection program
To any U.S. marshals out there eyeing my search history: I’m not trying to find someone hiding in the program, I swear. I’m just trying to write a book about someone hiding in the program.
Gia Cribbs is an author and lawyer who lives in Maryland with her husband and daughters. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, eating too much chocolate, or fantasizing about her next vacation. The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan, her first novel, was published by Harlequin TEEN on May 29, 2018.