F is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)

F is for Forensics

(Post 6 on my WIP)

Just because these cops can travel through time, it doesn’t mean they don’t need to follow usual police procedures. As part of my research (and also just because I love studying, with The Open University in general) I took an Elements of Forensic Science Course. Just to show how good I would be at this if it was my career – I thought the hair on the front cover of the book was real and tried to pick it off – doh.
My mate Stacey over at It Takes a Woman had studied the course previously and Jay over at Jay’s Insight decided to take it at the same time as me – we even did some study together. The Forensics teacher in ‘Training Time’ I’ve called Dr Jaylin Stacey after the two of them. Not sure if they picked up on that when beta reading.

Kristin Scott Thomas could rock Dr Jaylin Stacey’s silver plait (Image from imdb.com).

I hope to integrate some of the technical aspects of Forensic Science into the novel without making it too much like regurgitating the textbook.

Does anyone have any advice on how to integrate research smoothly into your story?

Posted on April 6, 2012, in #am writing (and all things writing related), April A-Z Challenge, Training Time (WIP) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Aww, you sweetheart! In a moment of humility, I realised Stacey was named after the lovely Stacey Woods, and didn’t twig the Jaylin part at all! I’m all touched & blushing now. xxx

  2. Sounds like a really great resource for writers. I’m trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

  3. Hi, it sounds fascinating. I am an unofficial student of forensics. I absolutely eat it up. I am a fan of tevee shows that use forensics in investigating crimes. and have been for years. I also love mystery stories. (as you will see if you hop over to read the serial I am writing for the challenge.) Speaking of which, I need to do some more blog hopping. Best regards to you. I think if you use the forensics in your writing it should be slipped in co-incidentally and not obtrusively. (JMO). Bye for now. Ruby

  4. Some ideas for integrating research (or any exposition):

    Don’t mention everything at once in a big dump.

    Insert during action. Make that action dramatic (i.e. not just someone doing something, but doing it while someone/something is trying to stop them).

    Make the information atypical (e.g. usually fingerprints are unique to an individual, but in this case…)

    Sounds like a cool course. Now following your blog.


  5. Wow! Taking a course for research purposes? Forensics at that?! That’s the most awesome thing I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos! I wish you the best with your story, it sounds great!

    • Thanks – to be truthful it was only a basic (3 month) book-learning one and I basically worked towards the assignment only. They do Forensics at the uni where I work though so I may ask to go and see one of their crime scene re-enactments one day.
      I hope it will be great ;O) one day.

  6. What an interesting course to take up! Will you be posting about what you learned at some point? 😉 Regarding the integration of technical stuff into a book while avoiding info-dumping, I think bite-sized nuggets of information is key. Don’t explain everything at one go, and only the basics.

    I’m currently reading BLOOD ORCHIDS by Toby Neal (I recommend it, by the way!), and the author has this scene which is a classic example: a detective sprays ninhydrin over a piece of evidence and says “I know we have to wait half and hour, but if there prints, we should see something in a few minutes.”

    What remains unsaid, but which the readers will pick up on, is that ninhydrin is a chemical for detecting fingerprints, and that normal procedure requires the chemical to act for 30min. But you don’t have to say that! Integrating research into a character’s dialogue and actions work much better, 🙂

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

    • Great example – I follow Toby on twitter – will have to look out for her book. Ooh hadn’t thought about blogging what I learnt (I’d probably have to go back and relearn it considering my memory) – I do remember there being a question on what else might have happened in x situation – I’m not sure they reckoned on a creative writer answering that – not sure I actually responded scientifically or technically enough but started writing a short story instead – oops.

      • LOL, at least the course was useful. Hey, it resulted in a short story, after all. 🙂

        Toby is awesome. I’m really enjoying her book, which is the first in a series. Can’t wait now for the others to release. Plus, I’m learning so much about the culture and people of Hawaii from reading it!

  1. Pingback: N is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012) « kirstyes

  2. Pingback: Q is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012) « kirstyes

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