Monday, December 21, 2009

Secrets to sleuthing - part 2

Thanks to a great mate, let's call her my friend Flicka, I found an answer to my question from a previous post, 'how do I sleuth (ie. conduct research) without being cast as a voyeur?'
Preparing to venture over the Bridge on a research mission to check out the fictional boyhood home of my male lead character, she volunteered to come along as a decoy. 
What is it about the power of company that gives one a sense of permission and liberty to do something, which, to do alone might make one feel slightly weird (even though it's not, of course). Maybe it's just comfort in knowing there'll always be a witness, one who can also double as your bail-poster if need be?
So off we went to the inner West to explore his stomping ground and I'm happy to report a most successful adventure. 
Street: ideal.
House: perfect, and yes Hills Hoist confirmed.
Park: I could almost taste the icy cold Sunny Boys and feel the zinc cream on my nose imagining the neighbourhood kids playing cricket in the hot blanket of summer, then tearing home on their BMXs in the half light of dusk.
Foreshore: suitably mangrove-y and home to an aquatic menagerie of curious creatures just waiting to be picked at by grubby, inquisitive fingers.
The mind is now full of inspiration from which to grow my character. And as back up, the camera is stocked with photos (featuring said decoy) from our little expedition as visual reference.
There's something about being in the surrounds of your character that helps to tap into their presence and find their voice. Would this be the writer's equivalent of method acting I wonder?
So for this stage of research, Mission Accomplished. And, thanks to my friend Flicka, accomplished without interrogation. Phew.

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