IWSG: How To Earn That Coveted Spot on a Government Watch List

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
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The awesome co-hosts for the November 6 posting of the IWSG are Sadira Stone,Patricia Josephine,Lisa Buie-Collard,Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

When I first started writing novels, they were thrillers. Somebody’s dead, somebody did it, and somebody’s going to be next, if somebody else doesn’t stop the killer. Back then, the research was probably creepier than what I’m doing, now.

So… what about those “special” knots the killer uses to tie up his victims? Well, it turns out there’s a reference book for knots.

And how to build a fake cell-phone tower you can keep in your briefcase? Gotcha. (Everybody wave ‘hi’ to my new FBI observers, James and Mark.)

And one of my protagonists had a direct liquid-cooled computer. Damn, I loved that thing. I put a wave machine in it, just for a little added pizzazz. Lights, shadows… it was a trippy little device.

Someday, I’d love to have the money to do build some of those things in real life. Uhm… Anybody have a spare 20 grand lying around?

Now that I’m doing Science Fiction and Fantasy, the research can be even more out there. For the last book, it was firestorms. And an assortment of medical things. (Oooh, hydrostatic skeleton! Now, how’s that going to work into the book?)

The current research is more international relations than anything I’ve done before. It’s more depth, but probably not as weird as some of the other things that’ve come up.

There also seems to be a lot of hiking and camping related stuff this time around. Because, once again, my characters are going to wind up in a tent. On the bright side… this time, they planned it that way.


  1. Reply

    “This time, they planned it that way.” – that made me laugh. I love that. I have had characters in caverns underneath a city, which was a total pantsing writing decision that I ended up thinking had great symbolism for the main character (not that anyone caught that except me). And then, I went ahead and planned on caves, tunnels, and other bits of underground type of clambering around for my characters in a few more situations – and they planned to be there.
    This WIP will include one or two cave scenes … but again, my characters will plan on it before they go inside to meet up with dragons and other good fun.

  2. Cheryl Lee McKenzie


    I’ve stumbled on a whole world about knots recently. Di Vinci was one who was fascinated with knots. Thanks for joining in the @IWSG

  3. Reply

    Sounds like there’s never a dull moment when you’re busy with research!
    Your post title made me chuckle.
    A reference book for knots?Cool. Imagine what one could do with all that info… *dashes off to Amazon*

    • Reply

      The big, all-knots included one is called the Ashley Book of Knots. I’m not sure if I included that in the post or not.

  4. Angela Wooldridge


    I wonder if the FBI have a joke list of authors who’ve pinged the sensors too many times!

    • Reply

      I bet we’re how they haze the newbies. “Hey, Colton… we need somebody to figure out what these psychos with the weird internet searches have in common and fast!”
      **Special agent in charge runs out of the room before bursting into laughter.**

  5. Heather


    Those all sound perfectly reasonable. 🙂
    At least to another writer!

  6. Reply

    Hello Jame and Mark! Remember me? I was looking up the recipe for Napalm once…

    Thanks for a great post. Got a good laugh. If we ever get arrested, maybe we can be cell neighbors.

  7. Reply

    I’m late I’m Late Happy Belated IWSG. Those are some interesting things that I wouldn’t even think about but now I will lol.

    • Reply

      Happy iwsg day! (I’m not dangerous. I promise.) My muse just comes up with the strangest questions.

  8. Reply

    lol well if you find out where that spare 20K comes from, let me know. It would be fun to go all mad scientist in the basement.

  9. Reply

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sorry it took so long for me to drop in here.
    I love the wit of this post. I can see how some of these searches could get you on a government list.
    It’s cool that you’re working on sci-fi and fantasy now.

  10. Reply

    I’d love to see the browser histories of famous writers! So far mine includes everything from knife wounds to the mesenteric artery to the history of couches.

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