Monday, January 19, 2015

Sore Muscles and Research


Every writer wants their books to be as realistic and believable as possible. That's where research comes in. Research can take the form of reading books or diaries from the time if one's writing a historical novel. It can also lead to traveling to the location where the story takes place. There are many ways to conduct research. Me, I've always like the hands on approach whenever possible.

I participated  in a class where we were taken onto a gun range and took turns shooting different types of hand guns ranging from a .22 all the way up to Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum. Of course we all had to take a safety class first. So now when I write about someone shooting a gun, I know how to describe the feel of the grip in my hand, the kickback when the gun is fired, how the air smells. (I've also crawled out a second story window on to a roof to figure out how to get down without a ladder. I was much younger then. I don't think I'd attempt it now.)

In my current novel, my heroine has to get the unconscious hero into her car. So what did I do? I wrote the scene the way I thought she could do it. Then I tested my theory enlisting help from my nephew.

Nephew is 6' 4". He's taller than my hero and weighs a bit more - 220 while Hero weighs 190. I'm taller than my heroine (I'm 5' 10") and Nephew outweighs me by about 70 pounds so I figured we were close enough in relative size as Hero and Heroine in terms of height and weight differences between the two of them.

Nephew took on the role of the unconscious hero lying on the floor. It took me a few tries, but I was able to maneuver him into a sitting position and then lifted up onto the sofa which doubled as the car. We cracked up a few times, laughing so hard we had to start over but it was doable. (Barely.)

So what did I learn from the experiment? It was possible for Heroine to get Hero into the vehicle. I learned I had to make a few minor changes on how she did it. I learned it's really, really hard to move someone's dead weight by yourself. When we were done, I was out of breath and sweaty which told me I need to up my exercise sessions.

I learned what I needed to know to write the scene realistically so when a person reading my book comes to that scene, she/he doesn't think to themselves "that's not possible" and doesn't finish reading the book.

Oh, and I also learned Icy Hot really does work on sore muscles. :o)

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