For a while now, whenever I hear a police car zoom past my apartment, with its siren blaring and all the red and blue lights flashing, my heart beat picks up. I think, “This is it. Today is the day.”
You might think I’m crazy, but I’ve reason to believe that me and almost every other fiction writer out there suffer from the same problem. The stronger ones might be able to resist, but I can guarantee that this thought may have passed through their mind at least once-That the cops are after them.
Why? The reason is simple. It’s because of our history. No, not the romantic history of the author, or our pitiable tax records, but our Google search history.
I will explain.
Imagine this scenario:
A writer wakes up in the morning, troubled as usual. She does an internal scan- voices inside her head- check. Thoughts riddled with random plots – check. Self doubt/ tendency to procrastinate- double check.
Happy that things are as normal as can be expected, she gives herself a caffeine shot, fires up her laptop and begin plotting her story. For a while things go smoothly, then she hits a wall- How the heck is she supposed to kill this character? It has to be swift, painless, with no traces left behind. What are the options? Of course, there are no forensic pathologists waiting in the wings to answer her question, so she calls in a favour from her best friend-Mr. Google.
Satisfied with the results he unearthed through his search engine, she may be able to write a few more scenes. Then comes another bump- Where should the killer hide the body? In a river? In a heavy duty rubble sack? Six feet under the serial killer’s Mom’s rose bushes? And if she decides to go with the river, then how would one weigh down the body? Of course, the writer has no obvious answers. Back to Mr. Google.
This scenario repeats, like a skipping CD, like a film on a loop. Over and over. Do you see where I’m going with this? And if the writer isn’t the sort to erase her browsing history, and if her conspiracy theory about cops watching out for weirdos in cyberspace are true, then you see, a writer has every reason to be scared.