Getting It Right (part 2 of 3)
How to get your facts straight?
RESEARCH – GOOGLE – RESEARCH – GOOGLE – RESEARCH – GOOGLE
Even though I have police at my fingertips, eager to share their information and stories with me, I can’t bother them for every little thing. And sometimes I find things they didn’t know. I needed a revolver with a silencer, so there wouldn’t be any spent shells at the crime scene. I was told there are no revolvers with silencers—there are. I also needed information about automatic weapons and a sniper rifle and sight.
I found, through Google, an arms dealer who sold surplus Israeli weapons. They were perfect for Beachside PD’s new SWAT team. The arms dealer was more than happy to give me the information I needed and he described a revolver that took a silencer. His name? I only know him by “Double Tapper.” A double tap is killing someone with a .22 caliber pistol—two shots to the back of the head. The bullets rarely exit, they just bounce around inside the skull turning the brain into . . . you get the picture. I used the gun he suggested, a Smith & Wesson Combat Model 18, .22 LR revolver, in an assassination: ‘In one quick move, the gun was put behind Smithers’ ear, the hammer cocked, the trigger pulled once, twice and the sound of the two shots were reduced to pfft – pfft by the silencer. Smithers’ body spasmed briefly and then he was dead.’
I needed a second silenced pistol. More research took me from Google to YouTube and led me to the Nagant M-1895 revolver. It is an elegant weapon and was used widely by the Soviets during World War 2. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, it began to show up in the U.S. It worked perfectly in a murder attempt and was easily traced because of its unusual bullet shape . . . the sound of its firing mechanism—it sounds like a toy pistol without the bang. It totally muffles the explosion, but not the mechanism’s, click – click.
When I needed information about vineyards and wines—a subject I know nothing about—Google. But when I say Google, I mean spend long periods researching. Don’t go with the first thing you find. I contacted several vineyards who were more than willing to help and I also watched several TV programs on vineyards.
Here’s another bit of help. The only reason why I was able to get the Gypsy crime cases and stories for “Beachside PD: The Gypsy Hunter” was that I researched Gypsies before we met. When I told him that I knew where Gypsies originated, he folded his arms and gave me the, “I can’t wait to hear this piece of nonsense” look. I blew him away with the correct answer. After he picked his jaw up, he said, ”You are the first non-Gypsy I’ve met in almost twenty years, who knew that.” I won his respect by doing my research.
Do you know where the Gypsy people originated? Research it anyway, as you’re most probably wrong. In addition to the information he gave me, I continued research on Google re culture and customs, took two books out of the library and bought two more on-line at Amazon. My research lent authenticity to what I wrote. Here is a meeting between my Gypsy hunter and the hunted Gypsy’s father. The parenthetical remarks are not in the book, but for your information. ‘I was sitting in a back booth drinking iced tea when he came in. He spotted me and walked over a bit slower than usual. I offered him tea, and he asked for it in a disposable plastic cup. To use utensils that had been used by gadje (non-Gypsies) was marimé (a multi-use word, used here as forbidden). The Rom (Gypsies) consider the gadje as unclean and diseased. They had a lot of rules about cleanliness, but the disposable plastic cup and straw was kosher to his way of thinking—although, he was drinking tea with a gadjo (non-Gypsy).’
In “The Gypsy Hunter” I used photos of Gypsies (Google) when I needed to physically describe certain Gypsy characters. I also used an actual Renaissance Faire that is in Fort Lauderdale for a crime scene. I downloaded (Google) the map of the actual Faire grounds and was able to use it as a guide when I described the search for a missing Seminole Indian coed.
If the book reads authentic and believable, it comes from a lot of research.
GETTING IT RIGHT (the conclusion), out next month, will discuss how to use people in your research.
Thank you, Neil.
Neil L. Yuzuk was born in Brooklyn, New York. Now retired after twenty-two years, as a SPARK Substance Abuse Prevention Counselor, he wrote Beachside PD: The Reluctant Knight, after collaborating with his police officer son on a screenplay of the same name. The book was a finalist in the Global eBook Awards in the category of suspense / thriller.
The second book in the series is Beachside PD: The Gypsy Hunter and third book is entitled Beachside PD: Undercover. He has also written a screenplay: Fade To Light. Another book, Zaragossa: Fruit of the Vine is in the works. Neil and his co-author son David are the authors of the Beachside PD series and their website is http://www.BeachsidePDBooks.com.
You can also watch their video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20e_i39GaQA and their print and eBooks are available at Amazon.com.
Since Neil sent this guest piece to me, I learned that he and his family were badly affected by Hurricane Sandy and I understand they’re now staying with friends. We wish you well, Neil.
If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.
The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with biographer Gearoid O’Dowd – the five hundred and forty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.