I think we’ve all been there… looking back through our search bar history… thinking about how concerning it would all look to someone who didn’t understand the context…
And, honestly, if Google were to make a list of everyone whose search history looked suspicious enough to possibly confirm him/her as being mentally ill, then I think it’s pretty safe to say that roughly 75% of the people on that list would be writers.
So… what kind of Google searches should we deem as ‘suspicious’?
Any search probably that would start off with ‘how to’, and then be followed with something illegal; that’s probably most of them. You know, fellow writers, like the billion different times you searched the depths of the internet for the least cliché way to murder one of your main characters. Or… maybe how to assemble a homemade bomb; that would probably draw some attention to your IP address. (I may or may not have taken the road that led to that one at some point… oops!)
Or… okay, so I’ll bring my own experiences into the rest of these.
I write a lot of horror work every now and then, but it’s usually the kind that involves a lot of, um… torture and… such. Anyway, I find myself having to research a lot about how much of… well, a certain type of torture (that just sounds so bad when I say it like that!) a person can physically take without dying. For example, one time, for one of the first real horror stories I ever wrote, I had to search for how much skin a person could lose before dying from it. Well, something like that, I don’t rememeber what exactly my search query was… but, I was having one of my main characters being skinned… alive… so that was why.
I sound like a terrible person… but the story was great, so I have no regrets… I think.
Anyway, another time, more recently, I wrote another short horror story and had to search ‘what would happen if you injected yourself with bleach?’ because, I mean, I could have had my main character kill her kidnapper with a knife or gun or something… but I thought maybe doing it with a syringe full of bleach would do the trick a bit more interestingly! I ended up not using bleach, though… because my research informed me that it wouldn’t have been as harmful as I thought it would have. Instead, I used a dilute of hydrofluoric acid, or something like that.
But, other than just murder and torture devices… you can search for a number of suspicious items. Another one I had to once look up was how certain narcotics and different illegal drugs were made. That’s for a story I’m writing now, which is actually about someone who makes and sells drugs illegally… so that search makes sense, given my context, right?
Another time… how to disassemble a bomb. Although, that one might have looked more positive than negative without even having the context, like I was preparing to save the world someday in the future, so that’d be okay (even though I was more looking it up to see how different bombs were made and assembled…).
Another… well, I’m running out of interesting ones, but the other night I had to look up videos clips of scenes from Miss Congeniality. Specifically, the one where she teaches self-defense as her pagent talent. If you can’t quite recall that, just remember to S.I.N.G (Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin!)… I hope that one isn’t really suspicious, though… I just thought I’d share it for fun.
Well, I think we all know what Google searches kind of make you go ‘eek…’ when you read back through them… and we all know that we all do it and kind of have to do it if we want our stories to be believable and realistic. Also, I forgot to mention this, but I don’t think I’m the only one that tries to rephrase the search query to make it look at least a little better (example- changing ‘how to become a big time drug lord’ to ‘how do people become big time drug lords’)… Then again, I pretty much gave up on that strategy a while ago… probably right after I researched ‘how to make oxycodone at home’.
Let me know what crazy Google searches you’ve been up to or how much you can relate to the writers’ research dilemma!
(P.S. My current March Madness score is 20/27!)