Code Breaking Down a Rabbit Hole

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Another note on NaNoWriMo writing. I know it’s starting to sound like my favorite topic. It’s the turbo writing part of the NaNo month that has me hooked. At the start of NaNo I took advantage of some of the tips and tricks that were offered to newbies. One of those tips was to keep the flow going by using “Insert here” whenever the text demands a detail that to research would derail the forward motion of free writing.
I employed “insert here” many times during NaNo for things like meals that characters ate, best country of origin for coffee, name of a landmark near where action was taking place. I also found “check this” handy to mark places where I wasn’t sure if I had the right name, or couldn’t remember the name of a minor character, also for if my facts were consistent (Ex. how much money did each kill word blog bring in?)
But this post is not about placeholder phrases. It’s about after the first draft is done and it’s time to do the less creative work of filling in the gaps and verifying the information. I made a list of all the items needing entries as I read through my draft. When I was done I had about twenty things to look up. Twenty random things that did not appear to have any connection.
So what happened when I started googling the most fashionable casual shoes for young men followed by searching the name of a football team in Ohio, to Italian restaurants in New York City’s Time Square district? My You-tube and Facebook ads are all over the place. I can trace back all the apps that are connected to which search engines by what ads come up.
The algorithms used to figure out what category I fit in are debunked and confused. I broke the code!
I can’t help but mention that doing research for the small details of this novel I have learned some unexpected things like for instance, the most expensive coffee, Kopi luwak is harvested from the p@@p of a raccoon like animal called a civet. No joke. The droppings are picked up and half digested coffee beans are removed, cleaned (so glad to know) and then roasted. How expensive is expensive? Try $500 a kilogram. I also learned that there’s an Italian restaurant called Rao’s that has been in business since 1896 in the same location in NYC. But no one can get a reservation that hasn’t had one in the family for generations. Rarely, someone outside the official clientele will get an invite. Ask me if I want to know how good that food is! I also learned that one of the first gas pipelines was installed from fields in Indiana to provide natural gas to Chicago street lamps.

How did I come across these interesting random facts? I needed to know the best, most expensive coffee so when Maisey has coffee with one of the men in charge of the crime organization, he can brag about serving only the best. I needed to know a good authentic Italian restaurant for a similar reason. I couldn’t use the famous, Rao because even the wealthy criminal wasn’t likely to buy his way into that place. The gas line fact I stumbled on while researching when street lights were actually lit by a person. It was supposed to be a thought Maisey had when she looks at the fancy street lights in her neighborhood and thinks about how they are modeled after something that meant some poor soul had the job of lighting lamps in all kinds of weather. Be wary researching writers. It’s super easy to go down rabbit holes. I’ve got a list of twenty facts to complete. I can’t afford to get lost in google earth traveling the streets of NYC. Need another NaNo to make me focus just on the novel!

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