Researching Shit | Microblog
So yesterday I jumped back onto my Typewriter (laptop) and got back into the swing of writing. I’d hit a snag and kinda just stalled, which is bad ’cause i really need to be in the mood to write.
Maybe i should write a blog about my writing mood?
Any who, while writing the chapter which is filled with sitting and reading and coffee. So exciting. I started to wonder how the fuck i’m going to write the next chapter which would involve a police interrogation. I’ve never participated in one before and so TV and movies are my only reference points for such a thing, and as you know, not very reliable as a fact based learning experience. What was I to do?
First, I looked through my books and found two chapters in two books that i can use, both books are fact based, one is Criminal Psychology, which is a beginners guide and has five or six pages on interrogations, and the second book is Investigative Psychology, by Professor David Canter. Who is a leading expert on this sort of thing. So, armed with both books I have something like 55 pages to read through.
Now, i’m not looking for a formula here, just a do’s and don’ts. Something to give me an idea of how to conduct an interrogation.
I also decided to check out an online resource, Thrill Writing. I’ve looked here before and it proved, well, okay. But this was just about as informative as an ingredients label on an apple (the fruit, for those of you under 15), it also, within that particular blog post, had a link to detecting lies, this being something i’ve studied a bit already caught my attention, i gave a it a once over and found that it was filled with cliches that just aren’t true, or at the very least the “facts” were out dated. People don’t look down and to the right when they lie. And in an interrogation, the suspect is more likely to never break eye contact because of that cliche. So if your suspect NEVER breaks eye contact, you might think that they are hiding something. We don’t tend to blink more often when we lie, but we might if we are thinking about the lie, trying figure things out. But even then, you might be asked a question, a new piece of information comes to light, and you need to think. This is why lie detection should only be performed by trained professions, because otherwise, you get false positives. And this is also why a polygraph test isn’t admissible in court (only day time TV), because a lie detector test and misinterpret anxiety for lie.
I guess i’m just hung up on the specifics. If you want your book to be filled with lie detection cliches, it’s fine. But if you want the real deal, do you fucking research. Paul Ekman, David Canter, to name a few.
I’m not saying that the Thrill Writing blog is wrong about everything, but if you’re researching something that has been researched by professions for decades, go to the source. Read what you can. And read from as many different sources as you can.
Or do what I sometimes do, have you character, play a hunch.
Hell, Sherlock Holmes sometimes didn’t explain how he came to some conclusions, and if Sherlock doesn’t have to, why should we. Just avoid cliches.