NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 Delay
I’ve spent much of the day thinking about the upcoming chapter 28. It’s the beginning of Act 3, the first time Rob and Fiona really talk about their various Things and Stuff. I was at the pool today slogging out my laps while I thought about all this, and what each party in the scene is trying to get from the other, and what they have to hide, and there’s plenty of everything to go round, which is neat. Have decided that Future Bastard is going to take Fiona out for a modest lunch at a Dome cafe, and that this will prove a fateful decision, as someone from his deep past will be resurfacing to say hello, with potential to complicate things nicely. I’ve been thinking about this complication for some time now, and today I saw at last how to do it, so yay!
The other neat thing today was that I got to spend time thinking about what I’m going to include in my email to the WA Police. In each of my books since at least TIME MACHINES REPAIRED WHILE-U-WAIT (all the ones set in Perth, including BLACK LIGHT, where I got to talk to the WA Police Historian) I’ve eventually run into a situation involving the sort of question where I need to know what the real WA Police would do in that situation. In GOOD INTENTIONS, I have a naked, much-abused, hyperthermic, clinically dead, teenage boy dumped outside a hospital emergency department in the dead of night. Obviously the police are going to be called. Once the boy is revived and proves to have no memory, what then? What’s the procedure? What do the police do? For that matter, what does the hospital do? Who gets involved in finding out who the boy is? Do they take fingerprints and DNA swabs? Is there a database for this kind of thing? What do they call him if they don’t have a name for him? How does the fact that he’s obviously been grievously tortured affect things?
So I have a lot of questions I need to ask, and a lot of detailed thinking I need to do based on all that. This kind of thing is one of my very favourite parts of book-writing, because even though I’m just this guy who writes science fiction novels the WA Police have always, always been wonderful, professional, and extremely helpful. The only time there has been a problem was once, years ago, when they said a specific question about an aspect of procedure would require divulging information that is considered “classified” so they couldn’t give that away. But anything else other than that kind of thing they have only ever been too happy to help me with.
It’s been my experience with researching other questions for books, too. If you approach people who Know Interesting Things, and you present yourself politely, in a professional manner, these folks will go out of their way to help you. They are happy to talk about their field of expertise, and are often flattered to be asked. You just have to ask.