Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crazy Things Authors Have Done

A little over a year ago, I was driving to work when I noticed smoke coming out of my car's hood. At this point, the logical thing to do would have been to pull over and call a tow truck. However, I'm not the most logical person in the world. There's a scene in Artificial Absolutes where the protagonist has to pilot a starship that's falling to pieces. I wasn't particularly happy with the scene, and the misfortune suddenly turned into an opportunity. How often do I get the chance to find out what it's really like to drive a vehicle that's breaking to pieces? What kinds of things could go wrong? What would go through a person's head?

Well, I found out all right. The smoking, the rattling, the wondering if I was going to catch fire and explode... Not sure how much of that actually helped the book, but at least I could say with confidence, if ever questioned about the scene, that I had some idea what I was talking about. Worth the risk? Probably not, but as I'm sure you know, authors do crazy things for their books. Here are some others:

"When I was writing Making Angels I did have my husband push me along the carpet with my hands crossed on my chest to see which was best head first or feet first for ease of introducing a body into an old altar grave (head first pushing on the feet won out)."
- Diane Dickson (http://dianemdickson.wordpress.com/)

"For Reflections, I did every crazy diet the character tried: cabbage soup, three day hot dog diet, master cleanse and an apple diet. I gained about 20 pounds, was tired, moody and basically miserable."
-Jennifer Bogart (http://jenniferbogart-author.blogspot.ca

"When I still wrote 'sword & sorcery' fantasy, I learned how to use a sword. I tried one maneuver, which involved making an overhead sweep, then ducking. I overbalanced and nearly fell on my sword. Fortunately it was made of wood." -Katrina Jack (https://www.facebook.com/katrina.jack1)

"I had my husband sew a BananaBoy costume in support of my children's book Sending You Sammy and I played basketball in it with a lot of kids in a public park!"
-Sarah Butland (http://sarahbutland.com/blog/)

"My whole family and I took tiny flashlights inside a non-commercial cave and explored so I could see what it would be like for my mystery series set in a town full of caves. I'm the shortest in the family, and I bumped my head on the ceiling of the cave in a really low section. It hurt like crazy. One of my characters does that on two occasions in the first book, now."
-Susan Finlay (http://susansbooks37.wordpress.com)


  1. I did stop short of wrapping myself in cling film and to be honest have rather regretted it!!

  2. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing my story and those of the others.

    Marketing is such an unique thing, especially now with so much competition in video games, movies and other entertainment that it's awesome to see authors take a real part in their plan.

    Thanks for reading and writing,

    Sarah Butland
    author of Arm Farm, Brain Tales and Sending You Sammy