Research II

Richard Simmons’ Dalmatians or Madonna’s Chihuahua?

What is an unusual medical condition that would typically be found in an ostrich?

These are the things that sometimes occupy the mind of a writer.

I needed a celebrity pet tonight and went poking around on the Internet. For some reason, it struck me as the kind of thing that I didn’t want to put off until the edit. Ostensibly it was because this had the potential to turn into a running gag. But I think the real reason was because I really didn’t feel like writing and needed the excuse to do something that looked like writing without accomplishing a whole lot.

So to Google I went, and of course, because it was Google, I found what I needed disgustingly fast. I wasn’t able to waste nearly the time I should have on the search.

The first decision was easy. No to George Clooney’s pot bellied pig named Max. Not the kind of pet he would take to Indianapolis with him.

Madonna might take her Chihuahua, “Chiquita,” on tour with her. But I suspected that it has been a while since she has played in Indy. So I went with Richard Simmons, who has six Dalmatians. I suspect his relationship with the dogs is an ongoing one, one that would stretch far enough back to make it feasible that he would visit Indianapolis in the company of one. And I can just see him unable to keep his mouth shut on behalf of a friendly veterinarian who did a good turn for one of his dogs.

Then there was the matter, a few paragraphs later, of going back to Google in search of odd medical conditions found in ostriches. I found some interesting things there, too.

And, yes, this stuff really does fit together as pieces of a thriller about two people on the run.

What I found tonight should be quite useful On the other hand, I may end up cutting this entire bit of business altogether. It almost smacks of over-thinking things – I do that on occasion, too. But it did keep me going with the night’s writing. Not as much as I should have done, but as much as I was willing to do, counting the research.

At least it’s not like my early days of writing. While working on The Company Man, I read an entire book about brewing beer for one of the subplots in the book. Unfortunately, that bit ended up being cut. Completely. But I did learn a lot about beer in the process.This taught me that sometimes an entire book on a subject was overkill, when all you really needed was a little information to add a bit of verisimilitude. That’s where the Internet is brilliant. You can find little bits of information like that, fast. Really fast. Too fast.

I guess if I had really wanted to kill time, I could have gone to the library and gotten a book on ostriches, losing an entire week’s worth of productivity on reading it… all for the one line that ended up in my writing tonight.

Well, I determined when I started this blog that I was going to chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly of novel writing. This definitely fits into one of the latter two categories. I haven’t figured out which one, though.

I think I’m rambling now. Time to go.

Today’s Scorecard
Chapter Fifteen
499 Pages (+2)
110,458 Words (+ 454)

NP – iTSP [Joe Jackson, “You Can’t Get What You Want (‘Till You Know What You Want)” (Live in NYC)]


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