Wednesday, August 18, 2010


RESEARCHING continued.....

Joan Boswell opened our LKC Thursday blog with a discussion on research. As she pointed out, researching leads you in all sorts of directions, and seems like it will never end. When you need some facts to make your story ring true, you must do research. You might have to consult several sources, and sift and weigh the information you have found. In one story, my hero had an object of a certain volume and weight [say no more, say no more] that he needed to transport to a remote location.

I started researching how a person with a load too large to hand-carry could access that particular location. Small planes were the way to go. I read all about the Spruce Goose and the DeHaviland Beaver. I read about how long grass airstrips had to be, and how close the surrounding trees could be, and how tall they could be, before they sheared off the undercarriage of arriving or departing aircraft.

I sussed out how much fuel a small plane could carry, and how far that fuel would take the plane in optimum conditions. I read about pontoons, and how long a lake had to be for a successful landing and subsequent take-off. I learned what kind of weather conditions affect the landing of small planes, and what to do when the pilot needs to make an emergency landing. I read about how one loads cargo of awkward proportions, and how one could transport that cargo away from the plane before it left. It took me six hours to do all this research and arrive at the correct plane.

In my story, this prodigious amount of time spent translated into this:
He climbed into the Cessna.
That’s it. One sentence.

It’s a good thing research is entertaining all by itself.

Vicki Cameron is a member of The Ladies' Killing Circle, short-listed for both the Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada and the Edgar Allan Poe Award from Mystery Writers of America.


  1. How true. You're lucky you got one sentence. Sometimes the information turns out to be useless except to use in conversation. have you used any of this info?

  2. Ah yes, but the end result sounds like Hemingway! Good going.


    Charlotte Adams mysteries

  3. what i remember is the advent of truly trusting Google, which amazingly lightened my expense account (no more travel, hotels, etc) - now, 85% of my "research" is done on the internet - and if there's not enough info, there's usually a posted phone number somewhere off in the void