Isn’t life curious? I’m now an expert in moulding penises, an activity that I didn’t think I would ever need to know, and the ritual involved in injecting heroin followed by the consequential overdose symptoms. Who would’ve thought that researching a book could be so strange.
It is common for me these days to work through the night. If I have a chance to work uninterrupted, and am awake enough to give it the full attention, then I do. Usually this involves some kind of writing or editing but last night was a first. After writing a blog not so long ago about my concerns that I’ve not researched much up until now, that all changed last night.
I’ve had an idea to write some flashback scenes going back to the sixties (you weren’t there, man) in my new novel. It’s not any part of the sixties though, it’s the drug-fuelled, penis moulding section. As I was only born in the seventies this leaves me with a stretch of my imagination, and in fact, even if it was the penis-moulding section of the nineties I’d probably still be struggling.
Weirdly I had a nugget of trivia in the back of my mind that told me that penis moulds of rock stars were plausible. Somewhere or other I had remembered a woman in America that went around doing it but that was all I knew. I based the story in 1968 and the main character that was moulding was called Cynthia.
Last night while researching this peculiar segment I discovered that the name of this woman was in fact Cynthia P Caster from Chicago and she started in 1968. Weird. I’m now going to change the name of the character so that people don’t assume that I’m writing about her in anyway. My story is totally fictional but it is plausible however far-fetched it seems.
My peace and love sixties story takes a turn for the worst in 1971 when the mood turns sour and is mirrored by the onset of heroin. Nothing will ever be the same again. I had to research the taking of heroin and what happens in an overdose because I want to accurately describe it when the time comes.
I was doing all of this last night on the internet and I’m wondering this morning how on earth I would’ve gone about it otherwise. How could I have ever found out this niche information? It would have taken weeks to have researched to the same level. I now have the correct answers to both of my questions, and I also had time to look up events for both years, clothing, singles etc to give the story more authenticity.
So, after saying that I had not researched anything for my two novels only weeks ago I’ve now realised that it was because I didn’t need to before. When you’re writing about things you know about then there’s no need, but as soon as you step away from your own life it’s compulsory.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, you would use Alginate (a dental impression substance) to make a mould of an appendage and then fill it with Plaster of Paris. The Alginate takes a couple of minutes to set depending on the temperature of the water that you have mixed with the powdered substance.
I now feel more like a writer because of this exercise, anyone else know what I mean?