Whenever I start thinking of a new plot for a book, I have to stop myself from writing the first line. The beginning is such a spark. Even if it isn’t the first line my revised story will have, it’s exciting to get something on paper.
Actually, I used to do that, but now I know better. Now I start by researching setting, occupations, and other information I need to know in order to write a convincing story.
Before I wrote a romance with a newscaster as the heroine, I spent time at our local TV station–interviewing employees about their jobs. I started in the newsroom to see how assignments were handed out. I walked into the studio and sat at the anchor’s desk. I crawled into the van for remote shots and learned how high the pole had to go up to broadcast back to station. I don’t remember how high now, and I don’t know if the pole is even necessary with new technology. If I wanted to write again about a TV news anchor, I’d have to do more homework.
I’m toying with the idea of writing a mystery. I’ve worked a mystery into a few romances and children’s historical novels, but this time I’d like to write a real who-done-it. Friend Suzann, who’s written many mysteries, gave me several books covering causes of death, body trauma, and poisons. Writers have to know this deadly stuff before they can murder someone on the page.
Tonight I start research for real. It’s my first evening at the Citizen’s Police Academy. Over the next 14 weeks, I’ll learn about all the different types of calls police get. I’ll learn about crime scene procedures, traffic stops, child abuse (ick), DWI arrests, clearing a building, 911 operations, and I’ll do a ride-along. I’ll meet the K-9 unit, not my thing since I’m not an animal person, but I’ll do it.
You don’t have to be a writer to apply for the Citizen’s Police Academy. Many towns have this program to teach civilians what police do so citizens can be better informed. Police performed a background check on me, so you probably shouldn’t have an outstanding warrant if you want to apply for the academy.
You can believe I’ll take copious notes. And I hope to make friends with a few policemen who will take my calls when I have questions about something in my mystery plot.
I’ll let you know if I do write a mystery. And if anyone has a new way of committing a perfect crime, I’m all ears.