- STORY: Writing about Major Catastrophes
The California Office of Emergency Services put together several manuals for managing major incidents. Fortunately, you can download them directly from the California OES. Scroll down to the LEMA (Law Enforcement Mutual Aid) links to learn how first responders formulate response plans for critical incidents. Also be sure to check out the column on the right side of the page with additional links. The Coroners & Mass Fatality link will give you more research sources. We've had discussions in the Facebook Q&A Group (click here to join) about using cadaver dogs and this CalOES page is the group that we make the cadaver dog requests through. While these links are certainly California-centric, it may give you an idea of how the set up works wherever you've set your story or it may give you a starting point of what to look for research-wise in your area.
- RESEARCH: Forensic Science
In the Facebook Q&A Group, a question was asked about how the term forensic is doing when it comes to sounding dated or falling out of fashion. I've written before about cop slang, so I thought this was actually a really fair question. The answer is that the word forensic, when used correctly, isn't slang or lingo. That said, it has become a slang abbreviation for forensic science. As a writer, it is really important to understand that when the adjective forensic modifies a noun (usually a field of study) it means applied to law. Forensic science is science applied to law; Forensic Accounting is accounting applied to law; Forensic Odontology is the study of teeth applied to law.
Speaking of forensics...er...I mean forensic science, Author Claire O'Sullivan (follow her on twitter) provided a great link in the Facebook Q&A Group for nfstc.org, the National Forensic Science Technology Center. Claire explained that she'd taken all of the NFSTC courses, which you can find here. This is a great research resource for learning all about forensic science. Thank you for sharing that with us, Claire!
The NFSTC also has this great Research Digest from late-2017 with links to all sorts of fascinating forensic science research white-papers. A note of warning, you will go down the research-rabbit-hole with this and likely lose half a day of writing! ;)
- CRAFT: After the first draft is done...then what?
I want to offer a huge shout out to Terri who finished the first draft of her book last week. Terri was one of the first writers to join this crazy Writer's Detective adventure and I am insanely proud of her for finishing the first draft. First drafts are never easy and fighting the resistance is a constant battle. I'm scoring this:
[Terri: 1 | Resistance: 0]
Now that I am writing my own first draft of a book, I understand how monumental a task it can feel...only to discover that the majority of the real work still lay ahead. But here's the thing, finishing your first draft is a gigantic milestone that 99% of the people that "want to write a book" never accomplish. I am a firm believer in celebrating your successes, so when you finish your first draft please take the time to actually celebrate and recognize your accomplishment.
After recuperating from that celebration, you'll likely find yourself back in front of your first draft wondering "So...now what?" Thankfully, Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn gifted us this blog post about what to do next. I can't wait to get to this stage in my own writing. Speaking of Joanna Penn, I highly suggest checking out The Creative Penn Podcast. It is one of my absolute favorite podcasts. I listen to it weekly and love how upbeat and positive Joanna is.
Have you found any incredible research links that helped with your story crafting? If you think they are worth sharing with your fellow writers, comment below or in the Facebook Group. I'd love to check them out!