Thank you GOOGLE!
This week I have written a first draft of a new story. Back in November, my writing buddy group set the challenge of writing a crime story, something I'd never even attempted before. I failed, miserably! I was trying to write the whole thing from motive and crime through to detection. Not wanting to be beaten, when December's challenge was to write a story based on a particular date, I decided I could combine the two. The date would be August 31st 1997 - we all remember what we were doing when the news broke that Princess Diana had died , don't we? - and the crime would be the death of another Diana by a stalker. It was all sorted, well in my head at least!
I had written the first part of the story and was re-reading it. Harassment via texting on a mobile phone? Hmmm. Would that happen in 1997? I suspected not. So I checked on Google! Remember these?
Hardly small enough to slip into a pocket like the slim Smart phones of today. Although
the first text message was sent in 1992, it wasn't until cell phone service providers
began allowing the exchange of text messages between networks in 2001 that text messaging increased in popularity. Not in 1997 then. First 'faux-pas' in my story!
Diana, my character, met her stalker, Kevin, when they were both volunteers at a 'Crisis at Christmas' homeless shelter. Through Google, I was able to find details of what this would entail, how many homeless guests would be provided with Christmas dinners and the sort of activities that would be arranged in a typical shelter. When it came to deciding on a home for my characters, I researched various London boroughs and I consulted Google maps. I found it easier to describe the street where Kevin stalked Diana and the gardens where she eventually met her death with some real images in mind.
I've put the story away for a few days before I start on another re-write. Did I change the references to texting? No, I am now calling my story 'Ten Years On' and the date has changed to the 10th anniversary of the day Diana died. The talking at cross purposes at the end of the story between Kevin and his mother still works I think. Glued to the TV watching the coverage of the event in 1997 ten years before, she talks about the day Diana died and he can only think of his Diana and what he has just done. I don't know whether the story will ever get published but I'm looking forward to sharing it at the January meeting next week.
How have you used Google in your writing?