Research for Plausibility
Two weeks ago I wrote about the importance of keeping plausibility in fiction. I suppose it wouldn’t be quite as important when writing in the Science Fiction or Paranormal genres. But if one is writing in another genre, say Mystery or Suspense, research could be imperative to insure reader believability in the events or situations in which the characters are embedded.
In “Twisted Body Shop”, the main character becomes involved with a couple of devious vixens who tempt him into a life-style that is way out of his comfort zone. Sucked in by their sensual ways he soon realizes they intend to use him in a most disgusting fashion. The women suspect he may be on to their scheme and decide to drug him with a medication that would render him harmless. I needed to find a medication that might do so without killing the patient or causing any other side effects.
After several hours of research on line, and speaking to people I had become acquainted with in the medical profession, I found the drug recommended for the job. The medication would allow the character to remain conscious, but unable to move any of his limbs. It would totally wipe out one’s motor skills — exactly what I was looking for.
Similarly, the lead character in “Bermuda Zone” was going to be exposed to a polygraph machine. I had to create a slant that would have the reader wondering if she were actually able to fool the machine. Research suggests polygraph tests are about 95% accurate leaving little wiggle room for a person to lie. However, it can be fooled 5% of the time. I studied the ways of those who had successfully deceived a lie detector and then incorporated what I had gleaned into the storyline.
Nothing aggravates me more than to be reading a story and just when it’s getting exciting, have the credibility drop out from under it because the characters perform in feats that are highly unlikely or impossible.
So, when writing your next best seller remember, Research is the key to plausibility. Do some homework before your lead character dives out of an airplane descending at a speed which shatters the sound barrier. (Yes, one person actually did so — Felix Baumgartner. It was a record breaking feat that has not, nor probably will never be accomplished again.)
Thanks for listening.
Steven Trae Lauder
All of Steven’s novels are published by Bogart Digital Publishing.