The joke around writer's circles is that many of us need to hide our Internet searches because, at the very least, our families would worry about us. We joke about dating sites that suddenly send us endless emails because we did some online research for dating. (Hey, Christian Mingle? Yeah, you can remove me...I'm happily married almost 24 years now.)
Dating sites are one thing, but when our searches move to the darker side of human nature, that's when our online histories get weird and worrisome.
For example, when I researched for Lies in Chance I had to study up on state police procedures and...ewww...what happens when someone finds a body in a river.
When I researched for Fresh Ice I did extensive study on mushroom poisoning.
Now, for my most recent attempt at a novel, Spark of a Hero (working title), I'm finding myself wanting one of my characters to have an IV drug problem. (Maybe it's the after effects of watching 4 seasons of "Breaking Bad" in two months...who can tell? BUT DON'T TELL ME HOW IT ENDS because I still have to watch Seasons 5 and 6.)
My online search history in the last couple days has taken me to some very dark places. I thought I'd just get some dry facts on a couple websites, like I did the with the mushroom stuff. Oh no, turns out, if you Google "track marks" you wind up on a website dedicated to IV drug users where they share their tips on how to get rid of or cover track marks.
It's a bit more than my middle aged, middle US sensibilities were ready for, I can tell you.
I also wound up on very interesting blog, written by a mother, covering a couple weeks this past summer when she really started dealing head on with her daughter's drug addictions. That was some very light reading...and I'm so sucked in to that blog, the last post is August 2 and there's nothing more. What happened? A writer's mind needs to know!
So if you're working on something and you suddenly find yourself looking at websites that might make your family think twice about eating the dinner you cooked, or your boss wonder if he should give you a drug test, just remember...you're not crazy, you're not a criminal, and you're definitely not alone!
You're a writer!