The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across a keyboard
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2017

DARPA...What?

AMAZON LINK
DARPA - have you heard of it?

It stands for: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

If you haven't heard of them, you might have heard some of the inventions that DARPA research helped bring to reality:

  • the Internet
  • Windows and the World Wide Web
  • Video conferencing
  • Google maps
  • GPS
  • Stealth aircraft

Your tax dollars, ladies and gentleman, hard at work.


Here are 10 incredible, mind boggling research projects they're working on right now! 


In my novel WASP, Zoe Kealoha is a micro roboticist who is contracted with DARPA. She is working to save lives after she was influenced by the 9-11 water rescues to do everything she could for the greater good. Her research is geared toward doing just that - keeping innocent people out of jail. Pinpointing the terrorists so innocent bystanders aren't swept up in events -- but not everyone has her level of compassion. In fact, there are a whole bunch of people who want the information in Zoe's head. They just don't care how they get it from her. READ IT TODAY!







Resource information for this article came from HERE

Monday, January 9, 2017

Catch a Dragon by the Tail: Giving a Solid Base to Your Fantasy Work with Tina Glasneck

English: Dragon on Longshan Temple.
English: Dragon on Longshan Temple. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ThrillWriting welcomes back our friend Tina Glasneck. For a list of articles that she's informed on this site use the search bar on the right.

Fiona - 
Tina, let's jump right on this. Recently, we sat next to each other on a writing panel. I was so intrigued by what you said that I wanted to corner you and pick your brain. Thank you so much for coming and hanging out with all of us ThrillWriters and ThrillReaders. Let's start with your educational background since that seasons our topic for today.

Tina - 

Sure. I have a Masters of Arts in Religion, as well as a Bachelors in Pastoral Christian Ministries. Prior to writing, I had planned on heading into Christian Ministry. Although plans changed, one thing I love is the education I received because of its lectures in the humanities, which included ancient civilizations, cultures, and languages. 

Theology is not just the study of the Christian bible, but so much more.

Fiona
And you've lived in Europe which also gives flavor to your writing. Can you tell us about that? How did you get there, what did you do?

Tina - 
I lived in Germany for six years where I also studied theology, and was introduced to so many different cultures, as well. In undergrad, I was a German minor, which took me to Germany. After graduation, I loved it so much that I returned. I attended a local university and continued my interest in theology, as well as history.

You can't live in Europe without being impressed by the history all around you. My interest in castles, for example, caused me travel around to view them; to check out the different sites throughout the country and Europe. I wouldn't be the person I am without the trip outside of the US. I do feel that it has provided an extra layer of spice that I didn't necessarily pick up prior to traveling abroad. 

Fiona - 
Now, let's scoop all of that background knowledge up and see how you applied it to your fiction. You have recently started writing about dragons. It's not the leap that some people might think it is. Can you tell how this all comes together?

Tina - 
LOL. Well, you are correct. Usually fantasy is not the avenue one would take with such a background. But for me, well, these characters appeared, and I couldn't shut them up! 


In my fantasy romance, A Dragon's Destiny, a woman discovers she is a dragon and has to come to terms with this new information, as well as her unique involvement in holding Ragnarok (the Norse Apocalypse) at bay. For this story, I have my heroine, Jasmine, travel back to the 1520s. This is the era that Europe was undergoing the Protestant Reformation. This was, also, a very important time when the Catholic Church continued to persecute people on charges of witchcraft, sorcery and the like. For this story, I wanted to delve into how those of the pagan belief would have had to deal with such a change in that changing world. Plus, everything with a dragon calls for a bit of fun too.

I consider this, the fantasy romance, to be the light to balance out the darkness that the mystery/thrillers create, as well. So, I was able to apply all of my background to create the tale, as well as provide some historical data as to what occurred during this time. 


Fiona -
You mentioned pagan - can you define that for our readers who might not have pagan friends. And, can you tell me if you use mythology from the pagan religions as an influence?

Tina -
Although the term pagan is constantly use to deride non-monotheistic religions, or religions that are not part of the Abrahamic- religions (like Judaism, Christianity and Islam), a pagan is just a non-believer. 


To clarify, the term pagan, from a Christian perspective, would be a heathen, or one that holds a belief that differs from that of the Abrahamic religions. Pagan of course, is a general term, and is usually used against those that did not adhere to Abrahamic religions. There are many different belief sets, but pagan is usually used to deal with religions that practice animism, polytheism, or anything that doesn't embrace that of the Abrahamic religions (or monotheism - the belief in one God).

That being said, Norse mythology played a very important role in creating the story, especially since I use many of the Norse gods in the story (including Odin, Loki, and Freyja). Although, the Marvel Comics' world has re-introduced the world to these deities, the original sources are quite fascinating in their own right.

Fiona -
How did you go about incorporating the myths to give body to your plotline, making them fresh and accessible to those not familiar with Norse mythology?



Tina -
 When it comes to the plotline, I believe in asking, "What if." In dealing with the events of Ragnarok, the Norse Apocalypse, my thought was to dive in and try to define it. In my studies, we did a lot of course work on eschatology (or the study of the end days). I wanted to do a comparison and see how that influenced and shaped paradigms, as well as the culture. 


That being said, after finding out that the gods pretty much kill each other, and things start over, you sort of get the idea that the gods would probably want to find a way to stay alive -- or stop Ragnarok. Who wants to die? That was the starting point. 

I also used a lot of Church history to recreate some of the incidents that I portray in the book, as well. I think by adding them both, it provides a great bit of detail for the reader to pull them more into my world. I went with the themes of who wants to die and let's embrace your truth. The worlds then collided and my creation was born.

When incorporating my myths, it takes a good amount of research. I am forever grateful for Google Scholar. 


Fiona - 
That leads to my next question: Not everyone has your level of scholarship in their back pocket. 

I know in some of my work I have used Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. One of my college courses that has influenced my writing the most was an art history class where I learned about images and the stories from Christian art as well as the tarot, numerology, pagan stories and so forth so when we were looking at art we knew the background of say Io and Zeus. Absolutely fascinating. 

How do you suggest authors conduct their research? What sources could they go to if they wanted to give their fantasy depth as well as fun?

Tina - 
This will sound cliche, but the Internet can be your friend (or worse nightmare). I approached research as I would on a collegiate level, searching for proper scholarly sources that will provide a better understanding of the myths and their interpretations. 


For this, I include such help as Google Scholar, which is a search engine that is a part of Google that allows you to search academic papers, and scholarly literature. 

Another jumping off point, if one is more visually stimulated, is the History Channel, and PBS. Through documentaries, one can find great nuggets of information to then assist in one's own research. 

Personally, my favorite is just a trip to the local library and either by asking questions of the librarian and just perusing the nonfiction shelves. The information is usually there, you just have to find it (and that can be the most difficult, but also the most fun, because, you'll walk away with tons of fodder to include in your story). 

Additionally, with fantasy a lot comes down to world building and the rules of the world you're creating. Christian Theology does not speak well of the dragon (a simple comparison is that the western understanding of the dragon is that it is maleficent, while the eastern version is that the dragon is wise). The dragon is mentioned in not very good terms, so you have to know the world you are placing your characters in and how to maneuver them in it. If you are writing fantasy, the best thing you can do to get a handle of it all is to read from that genre to discover its rules, as well.
Fiona - 
I have Kindle unlimited and when I'm doing research I look up documentaries (which are free to me) and listen to them like lectures, taking notes.

Let's talk magic. . . 

Tina - 
Sure. While preparing for this book, I took a course course called Magic in the Middle Ages. The course showed how the understanding of magic went from that of healing (natural magic) to being understood as maleficent (demonic). This mindset is what would eventually lead to the Inquisition, which officially lasted until 1908, and even the Salem witch trials, and how we regard magic today (as being demonic). 


The greatest thing to know is that words have different meanings and understandings based on the time period that they are used. The course did not teach magic, but showed how the world interacted with it. Nowadays, we probably wouldn't burn someone at the stake, but that is how our culture has changed over the years and how we handle the differences in faith and the understanding of what magic truly is. 

Fiona - 
And A Dragon's Destiny?

Tina - 
A Dragon's Destiny has a bit of my heart and soul in it. I wrote it because I was having a crisis, whereby I could no longer write darker pieces (a real problem for a murder mystery writer to have). I needed something with a happier ending, and a message for me to learn from. This story was me pulling myself up from my bootstraps, sort of a rebirth. 


Here is the blurb: Curses are destined to be broken... In this the first of the Dragons series, time travel and fantasy are weaved together in a fast-paced, funny yet emotional romance. Jaz, a fish out of water in the real world, discovers that she is actually a dragon who must seek her true destiny in another, parallel place. There she discovers that Erich, the man she secretly lusts after in real time, is the Dark Knight. He's ruthlessly extinguishing the ancient Norse religion in an emerging new world. Is he the beloved Jaz is tasked to find in order to release her dragon heart? 

Fiona - 
How does this series affect your other writing?

Tina -
I am being as prolific as possible right now. I recently released the first two issues of my Detective Damien Scott murder mystery serial, with am actively working on completing books 2 and 3 from the dragons series. You can take a girl back in time, but you can't make her give up her dragons -- LOL. 

There are two things I learned through this entire process: Everything has consequences, and I am trying to make sure that I discover what those are when building my worlds and my characters. AND, be true to yourself. Oftentimes, the best stories are the stories you need to tell. I needed to tell my dragon story and sharing it with the world has blessed me more than I ever thought it could.

Fiona - 

I learn something every time we get together. Thank you so much! Here's how to stay in touch with Tina:

http://www.TinaGlasneck.com
http://www.facebook.com/TinaGlasneck/
http://www.Twitter.com/TinaGlasneck/

Tina Glasneck
Mystery, New Adult Paranormal & Fantasy-Romance Writer
tinaglasneck.com



ALSO: TINA AND I ARE IN A GIVEAWAY! SCROLL DOWN FOR A CHANCE TO WIN 35 BOOKS!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Writing It Right Is Writing It Wrong: Info for Authors with Jamie Mason




Jamie is a spectacular writer, and I claim her as my very first writing mentor - she has been incredibly positive and enthusiastic, gently offering suggestions ever since I handed her my very first draft of my first novel and thought that I had created a masterpiece. 

Oh the shame! LOL.

Welcome. Jamie, and congratulations on your incredible success with Three Graves Full. Since I learned from you that you have to be careful about your details, I thought we could chat about writing it right and when that's just wrong. Do you have your coffee ready?

Jamie - 
I do!

Fiona - 
Are you happy and healthy?

Jamie - 
I have not killed anyone all day, so it's starting off great.
(And yes, for a straight answer.)

Fiona - 
Today, you were going to tell me a weird true-life story that ended up in your book...

Jamie - 
I am not known for my coordination.

I'm very careful or I'd be very clumsy. I can't dance. I can't skate. Playing the drums or piano or anything that would require my hands and feet to do very separate things is not recommended for people like me.


I'm a terrible shot with a pistol and in darts, I'm really only aiming for the board, nothing more specific than that.




Many years ago (like 17 years or so) I was home alone because my husband worked out of town during the week. We were only married on the weekends.

I was talking to him on the phone and also being menaced by a horsefly in my kitchen. The conversation was going nowhere, because most of my attention was tied up in flailing a dish towel at this horsefly.

But eventually, I'd had enough of that. These were the days of phones anchored to the wall, and I either had to abandon the phone call or do something about that fly. I suddenly became possessed by some action-hero demon and told my husband, "Hang on, honey. I'm going to knock this sucker's head off."

I struck a pose that really should have required stilettos and waited for the horsefly's next pass. It dove and my arm shot out with a wave of never-to-be-repeated aim, With a flick of the wrist, the the horsefly’s head, its little wand of a brain stem still attached, hit the floor to my left and the winged body, still twitching, ticked against the linoleum to my right, a full five feet away.

Yes. I decapitated a horsefly with a dishtowel four seconds after I called my shot like Babe Ruth.

It was the coolest thing I've ever done and nobody saw.

So I put it in a book. (Well, a version of it anyway.)

Fiona - 
There's a story that you and I share that went into this book as well, I think. Because it was such a weird thing to happen, I put it in one of my books as well. We were having coffee at a friends house...do you care to tell the story in your words and how it worked into your plot?

Jamie - 
Oh yeah!

It was just a tiny little moment, but it's a turning point for the main character, Dee.

What happened in real life is that you were utterly exhausted - with good and serious reason. I mean, we all knew this was true and a fact of your life at the time, but one little thing just illustrated it.

You were fixing up your afternoon coffee with a packet of sugar, but in your distraction, you poured the sugar on the table and popped the paper packet in the coffee and stirred it with the spoon before you realized what you'd done.

It was such a profound, albeit tiny, demonstration of your mental fatigue that I used it to illustrate Dee's line of "enough".

Then she gets to solving her problem.

Fiona - 
In writing, borrowing from our memories of little scenes that stayed with us is such a useful tool. But I know that you are also a girl who likes her facts.

When I'm giving lectures, one of the stories I tell came from you

Jamie - 
That's fun!

Fiona - 
It's really pretty funny. The story is about the poor guy who you called to find out about digging.

Can you tell us the story in your words about calling the company and asking them about how long it would take to dig a hole and their reaction to your inquiry?


Jamie - 
Ha! Yes.

There's a lot that you'll know about a story that won't go into specific words on the page. Just details, really. And you never want your Google to show up in the writing.

When I was writing Three Graves Full, I knew that my main character had dug a competent grave.



This was no shallow, stupid job. In my mind (but not on the page) it was about a 7ft x 3ft x3ft.

I got into a wrangle with my critique partner, because he said Jason should do it in an hour, ninety minutes tops, but I had written that it took 3 hours.

We went round and round, so I finally called an septic and irrigation company and announced that I needed to speak to someone who knew a lot about digging holes.
The guys said, "I been diggin' holes for twenty years."

So I asked how long it would take to dig a 7 x3x3. 
He said, "'Bout an hour."

I don't know if I cussed out loud or only in my head. But I did say at least, "WHAT??!!??!"

He informed me that sure, most of that time would be spent getting the backhoe on and off the trailer.

I was greatly relieved. "Not with a backhoe. With a shovel. By hand."

He said that it would take him three hours in favorable conditions, but to triple the time for someone who didn't know what they were doing.

So, I left it at three hours, but what I have Jason doing is likely close to unbelievable, since he wasn't an expert.


Fiona - 
Can you imagine that poor man's reaction after he hung up?
Scratches head. "Why do you think that woman needed to know how long it took to dig a hole that's 7 feet deep and 3 foot square? With a shovel. Alone. At night...What she say her name was? Jamie? That sure sounds like a made-up name to me. Maybe I should *69 that call and let Sheriff Blankenship mull it over."

One of the things that I like about your writing, Jamie, is that I know it's correct, but it's not a tutorial. 

Since this is a site with the goal of helping authors to "write it right", can we talk about when writing it right is actually wrong? The "I did my research, and I want you to know it effect."

Jamie - 
Oh sure. Definitely. One of my favorite things about the writing process is the wide open access to expertise. Anyone will tell you anything if you say you're writing a book. And now, with so much wonderful information on the internet, it's even easier. But, like a slip under your sexy skirt, you never want your Google showing.

I try to be careful about that, but it's hard. You learn fascinating things and you want to put all of this information into the story, but you just can't, because when your hero takes a ruinous kick to the knee, he can't buckle to the ground thinking that his anterior intercondyloid fossa has just been disengaged from his meniscus.

Technical detail and jargon are, generally speaking, in blocking opposition to action, adrenaline, and emotion.

Fiona - 
Agreed!

One of the things that I like to ask people when they visit ThrillWriting is to share their favorite scar story - I think they are interesting things for writers to read - all the ways your heroine can get messed up. You have one about a doctor and a paper clip. Will you share it? I think it is novel worthy.

Jamie - 
Oh, cringe city.

When I was about 19 years old, I slammed the tip of my index finger in a lead file cabinet drawer.

Luckily, I didn't break the finger, but the impact had driven a lot of blood up under the fingernail and the pain was outstanding.

The throbbing just never stopped.

That evening, my boyfriend suggested I let him heat up a needle and work it into the flat of my fingernail to create a borehole to release the blood, therefore the pressure, therefore the pain.

I refrained from hitting him, but told him to stay away from my finger with his grand ideas.

By next day, I was ready to try anything.

I had an office job in the main compound of a huge national insurance company. This place was a city block in total and honestly had its own zip code - and a doctor on site.

She said she was a doctor anyway.

I went to her to see if there was anything she could do to make this finger stop throbbing. She suggested a borehole to release the blood, therefore the pressure, therefore the pain.

I said, "GREAT!"

But where my boyfriend had wanted to use a sterilized, sharp needle, Dr. Manic pulled a large-gauge paperclip out of her desk drawer and bent it straight-ish.

She had me flatten my hand on the table and pressed the blunt paperclip against my fingernail and all my memories after that are very slow and fuzzy. I do remember thinking, as I watched her arm shaking with exertion, that if she managed to get through the nail there was no way she'd pull back in time to keep from driving it all the way---

And that's when she put the paper clip all the way through my finger.

Blood splattered the wall and my knees started to buckle.

Fiona - 
Argh - oh my god my bones just turned to Jell-o

Jamie - 
Then, this crazy bitch grabbed up a bottle of rubbing alcohol and poured it into the hole. I nearly hit the ceiling.


I think I didn't stop shaking for two hours.

There isn't much of a scar on my finger, but on my psyche -- oh, you betcha.

Fiona - 
LOL now. I bet you were loving your boyfriend though for wanting to do it the right way - did he gloat "I told you!" 'You should have let me..."

Jamie - 
No kidding. I so wish I had done it his way.

Fiona - 
As we are discussing real life situations that inform our writing, research that influences but does not overwhelm our writing, I'd also touch on the concept of the plotting spark. The what if... or the how it would it play out...

For example, in my novella Mine,  my plotting spark was, "Hey, did you know they reformulated OxyCodone so it turns to goo if a junkie tries to get high on it?"

Your newest book, Monday's Lie, uses an plotting spark that is so amazingly cool that I cannot wait to get my hands on your book. (That's an appeal for an ARC - Monday's Lie is available Feb 3, 2015). 

Would you please tell us the basics of your idea spark?

Jamie - 
Here's a little of the inception story of Monday's Lie.

Back in 2009, I saw a FBI agent give a talk about, well, all kinds of things. He was working with the Fugitive Apprehension group and was explaining something about facial recognition technology.

He said that humans processed faces top down. That's how we load them into our memories.

And since hunting a fugitive can take a very long time, against an adversary who necessarily doesn't want to be recognized, they found a psychological trick to counter time and disguise attempts.

If you study someone's photo upside-down, you load their image into your brain differently than all the thousands of faces your incredible mind catalogs the regular way. You'll be able to recognize this person no matter if they change their hair, wear a hat, wear sunglasses, add or remove facial hair, and, of course as we all must, age.

I thought that was so cool, and it germinated into what became Monday's Lie.

So, to all those writer people, Fiona's blog and all the expertise detailed therein is invaluable. You never know what little gem will turn into a story that works.

Fiona -  

Jamie, thank you so much for sharing your stories and wisdom with us today.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.






Sunday, March 31, 2013

Surviving Human Trafficking - Prt 3 Information for Writers

A white ribbon to commemorate the National Day...
A white ribbon to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Right-to-life Awareness. White Ribbon. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I welcome back to my blog, Brynn, LMSW. This is the third installment in her series of blogs written to help writers to understand the perspective of the victim. In this blog she is writing from her position as a professional who deals with other victims. Brynn is happy to answer any of your questions. Please leave questions and comments for her below.


***


In December 2012, I earned my Master’s Degree in Social Work. One of the requirements for my degree was an eight-hundred hours internship in a single setting. I chose to work in the local police department where I interned as a Victim’s Advocate. I worked predominately with survivors of domestic violence, but I also worked with victims of other crimes: robberies, child abuse, sexual assault, and so forth.

During my training, I received a manual (of sorts) that explained the different types of crimes I might encounter. To my surprise, they listed kidnapping! I am a survivor of a human trafficking ring. Strangers kidnapped me and subjected to atrocities. And in a weird way, I was excited to see that the police manual included at least a paragraph devoted to this horrific crime.

However, when I asked my social work supervisor how I could best respond to an abduction victim, (I never mentioned to her that I was a survivor) her response was that I should simply not worry about it - kidnappings “never” happened.
Once I heard that, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with my social work degree. I would focus on survivors of violent crimes, especially victims of human trafficking. 

Office on Violence Against Women logo
Office on Violence Against Women logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Surprisingly, now that I am a LMSW working in the field, I rarely, if EVER, come across another professional who has anything beyond basic knowledge of abduction and trafficking.
I wrote about what it was like be a survivor in past articles for Fiona Quinn’s blog, now I want to write this:

I despise it when people tell me, “I understand.”  I think, “Do you? Can you really tell me you understand? If we reversed our positions -- you having gone through the same thing that I did and me playing the role of inviolate listener -- could you truly understand my feelings?” I hope your answer is no.

I hope it was no because even standing side by side throughout the entire ordeal, you and I would still have experienced this through different eyes, ears, mental filters, and emotions. Even when meeting another victim of human trafficking, I cannot understand his or her experience simply because I am not that other person. Each individual (and in the same vein each fictional character) will experience a crime in a unique way.

I frequently hear people say, “Wow! How did you survive that?”  To me, this phrase invalidates my experience. It’s almost as if the questioner is daring me to prove that my crime actually occurred. If you are writing a fictional response to a victim’s disclosure (or you are expressing a personal response to a real-life victim), I suggest thinking about ways to validate the crime victim’s experience. As writers, after all, you are teaching your readers how to respond if they encounter this experience in their own lives.

So perhaps, instead of having your characters ask, “How did you survive?” try changing the wording around so that at the same time as getting your question answered you are validating the experience of the survivor (fictional or not). “It must have been difficult to go through that experience. Can you tell me what you think helped during that ordeal?” Or simply say, “How horrific. I’m so sorry. How can I help?”

Personally, the fact that someone can validate my thoughts and feelings about my experience has helped tremendously. Validation is key. I cannot stress enough how important this is! I have been able to begin opening up because I feel as though people believe me.

In writing, please take a moment to consider the character not just as a victim but as a survivor. Validating the feelings of that character/survivor (their anger, denial, and depression) can help to portray adequate therapeutic relationships that can help the victim move forward. Or alternatively, with an invalidating response, you can harm the victim's progress.

Let me offer an example for how you might accomplish a validation in your fictional piece:

During my ordeal, one of the ways my kidnappers punished me was by burying me alive. I distinctly remember the dirt, the smell, the worms…  all of it. I have never been able to talk about that aspect of my abduction. It is simply too painful.

One night, I ended up in the ICU. I was unable to breathe. My condition mystified the doctors. Finally, a lung specialist came in and asked a series of questions.  One of the questions was, “Have you ever been exposed to large quantities of dirt?” I hesitated for a moment before telling him about the time that the kidnappers had buried me alive. The lung specialist did not pause. He did not question me. The results of my medical tests validated my experience. The doctor was able to tell me that my story corroborated my medical test results, and his diagnosis made sense.

Even if your character survives something that reads as crazy or unbelievable, understand that people survive the crazy and unbelievable every day. After all, I survived -- anything is possible.


Fiona Quinn adds: If you want to read a series that includes the survivors of sexual abuse and the appropriate way to hear/validate their experiences, I suggest Sylvia Day’s books Bared to You and Reflected in You. (Heads up - both have an erotic component) Sylvia Day does an excellent job of dealing with her characters in a sound psychological way, and she presents an excellent template for other authors to follow. As an MS in Counseling, I highly suggest these books. As a counselor, I sincerely hope that authors can help to teach appropriate victim response through their carefully crafted writing. And as an author dealing with characters, just as in real life, I understand that sometimes this is a tight-rope walk.

Reflected in You on Amazon
Bared to You on Amazon


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book review: Making Crime Pay

eigen werkImage via WikipediaMaking Crime Pay, the Writers’ Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure
By Andrea Campbell
http://www.mysterywriters.org/user/253

Available at Amazon new for $27.50 used from $0.14

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Crime-Pay-Criminal-Procedure/dp/1581152167/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318713540&sr=8-1


Rating: Recommended

I admit that I bought my copy, used on Amazon, for ten cents. I more than got my ten cents worth. I read this book because it was listed as a resource book on the “
Sisters in Crime” website. I have had a course in law, and almost all of my clients were under my care by court order, so I already had a fair acquaintance with the legal system. I would have appreciated having this book back then, for quick reference and better understanding of the process.

This book is divided into three parts:

Part 1 - Criminal law is explained. What is the difference between a
federal crime and a misdemeanor? Crimes are defined as well as defenses, justifications and excuses.

Part 2 -
Criminal procedure - this includes the rights of the accused, search, seizure and arrests.

Part 3 - A Walk Though the
Criminal Justice System - this covers arrest procedures, charging, and booking. There is a chapter on juvenile justice and how that differs from the adult system.

Sprinkled throughout are historic points - which could be a boon to a historic novelist. Also, there are “Writers’ Tips.” These tips help the writer to pick out an interesting twist that could develop the plot line in a new way. There are “FYI” inserts that are like a heads-up to bring an aspect forward that a writer needs to take into consideration when writing a scene. Campbell includes photos of various documents used in the criminal process such as a
search warrant. There is an index, which helps to make looking up a detail easier.

Not a great read for entertinment value. The writing is clear and makes the concepts understandable with straight forward language. I mostly pulled it from my purse to read while waiting for various appointments. Little nibbles were satisfying.



An overall read will give a writer a base from which to launch a plot line. Having this book on the shelf to check on a vocabulary word or resolve a processing question is a handy resource.


I hope this was helpful. If you have anything to add - or if you know a great book that I should look at - please feel free to leave a comment below.
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