If you were alive in 1984, you may remember the song “Somebody’s Watching Me” by the artist known as Rockwell. (You can listen to it by clicking here.) It’s a song about a paranoid man who feels that everyone’s always watching him. On that note, and coincidentally speaking of the same year, you may also recall George Orwell’s book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was actually published in 1949. It was about the omnipresent government surveillance that closely monitored everyone’s activities. The story was subsequently known for how prophetic it was later proven to have been when Orwell described such electronic monitoring devices that had not yet been invented. The dictator of the totalitarian government in the novel was known as Big Brother and the slogan “Big Brother is watching you” was peppered throughout.
Well, for the record, I am by no means a conspiracy theorist, but I have to admit that ever since I started writing novel-length stories, I’ve been a little worried that the government may come knocking on my door at any time. You see, I’ve had to do a lot of research to make sure my plot ideas are as feasible and realistic as possible. I’m fortunate in that one of my beta-readers is a former police detective, and she’s able to let me know just how far I can go without crossing over a line of unbelievability. I’m no stranger to research, as I was a paralegal for fourteen years, but the kind of research I’ve done this past year is a bit remarkable, if not embarrassing, should my computer repair guy take a good look at my browsing history.
So far, besides researching commonplace things such as names and surnames for characters, weather in certain areas of the country, and days of the week that certain holidays would fall on, I’ve also researched tougher things such as Marine Corps installations throughout the world, common Indian cuisine, and popular souvenirs one could expect to purchase in Afghanistan.
But what has me a little concerned is I’ve had to Google such things as “best ways to dispose of a dead body,” “ways to kill someone with your bare hands,” and “best conditions for a corpse to naturally mummify.” What’s really amazing is just how many depraved websites are out there that actually give you step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish each of these feats! I fully expect the F.B.I. to come for me at any time, but until then, I’ll just keep writing.