Lori Robinett: {Creating} My Path

musings of a wife, mother, writer . . .

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Dead Bodies . . . what to do with them?

In my current work-in-progress, someone dies (shocking, I know). The novel was inspired by something that happened when I was a kid of about 12. We were on a family vacation in Salida, Colorado staying at a quaint little “guest ranch” just this side of Monarch Pass. The towering Fourteeners all around us were awe-inspiring, but what I really remember were the sheer drops as we drove up into those mountains. At one point, my mom started talking to one of the locals about how easy it would be to drive right off the edge of the mountain and someone said something about a mangled guardrail. The local told us about a woman who had driven her car off the road in the middle of a snowstorm. She said the car was still down there, at the bottom of the ravine. Said it was too dangerous to try to retrieve her body. That has always stuck with me. Very much made an impression on me.

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Although that was an interesting story, writing my novel required research. I went on a ride along with a police officer and asked questions about how the officers would react if a woman were found standing on the side of a road, where another individual appeared to have gone over the edge. If you are writing about crime, I encourage you to go on a ride along. Most departments will allow you to do so, and it’s a fairly simple matter to apply. You will likely have to pass a background check. Before you go on the ride along, do a little research. There are lots of resources, but I recommend the article at PoliceLink, which you can find here.

I have only been involved with planning a funeral once, so I did a little research about funeral directors. YouTube is a great research tool for writers. I ran across an interesting short documentary (For Life) which gave me ideas for dialogue and action. If you use YouTube for research, look for documentaries or first person reviews.

Another part of my story that required research related to death was that the body isn’t recovered. That brings up some interesting questions, about how the individual is declared legally dead (this is known as death in absentia). In Missouri, this is a statutory question and requires that the person be missing for five years. If you have legal questions, you can usually check the Revised Statutes for your state. These can also give you ideas for plots. For instance, Missouri laws cover details like the definition of dead (think medical thriller) and disposing of the body (what if a funeral director cut corners to save costs?).

So, now you know how I spend my free time. :o) What have you researched lately?

Hallucinations . . . (It’s Not a Tumor) (editor’s note: read with a heavy Austrian accent)

ImageEarlier this week, I awoke in the early morning hours to see a body hanging from the ceiling, head down, arms outstretched. The head was about 6″ above my nightstand. I’m pretty sure he was dead. I turned my head away, telling myself, “It’s not real. It’s not real.” Turned back to see if the body was still there.

It was.

So I rolled back over and closed my eyes tight, again telling myself “It’s not real.” I repeated that until I finally fell back asleep. When I awoke, the body was gone.

WHEW.

Back to sleep. Woke up again and there it was again. Exact same place, hanging the same way.

Now, a writer I look up to and try to learn from (Holly Lisle) recently sent an email saying that writers should question everything. We should ask why.

So, following that train of thought, I wanted to know WHY I saw a dead body hanging beside my bed. Especially upside down. Clear as day, while I was awake. I did what all good researchers do, and typed it into Google “what causes hallucinations”.

Well, my friend, that probably wasn’t a smart thing to do. Because now I suspect that I either have psychosis, dementia, or a tumor. If you don’t believe me, read THIS for yourself. Of course, it could be something like a migraine or a sleep disturbance. I just have to keep telling myself, it’s not a tumor!

Have you ever had a hallucination? If so, what?

Facebook: Is it the work of an evil genius?

Facebook: Is it the work of an evil genius?

For years, I stressed to my stepdaughter and daughter the importance of protecting their online identities, and not giving too much personal information to strangers. Then Facebook came along and everyone threw that fear out the window. We now willingly announce our relationship status, our location and what we’re doing every day. Even if you have your privacy settings to allow just friends to know what you’re doing – how well do you know your friends? What about that guy that you went to high school with? The girl that moved away in sixth grade? Facebook has become integrated into our lives so completely that many feel disconnected if they aren’t on. Is it more than social media? What is the next step? A chip implanted that automatically tracks us and updates our location? What about a map instead of a wall, that constantly tracks you and your friends and shows you where each of you are in relation to others? What if it was used by governments? Employers? Stalkers? Serial killers?

The Cure for Cancer

The Cure for Cancer

The novel I am currently working on involves a researcher who believes he has found the cure for cancer. It is always interesting to see how things make the news once a story idea is swirling around in my brain. Perhaps I just notice them now. My brain is receptive to those ideas. In my novel, the researcher works for a private foundation where testing isn’t quite as controlled and careful as one would hope. Although this speeds up his research, the results can be disastrous . . . for him as well as his wife, it turns out. Professor Hawthorne (click the link above) is much more respectable than my character, and I wish him all the best in his continued research at the University of Missouri.

Super Virus?

Super Virus?

Click up (^) there to go see the Mail article. Another Briton has died from a virus that scientists say may be worse than SARS. For years I’ve been fascinated with the idea of a super virus. From the days of throwing dead cows over castle walls, humans have been taking advantage of the mean side of Mother Nature to destroy their enemies. This new virus has me wondering – did Mother Nature create this? Or did we?

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