Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Career Hazards: Writing is a Dangerous Business



I know…I know, I don’t run into burning buildings. I don’t try to decide if it’s the red or blue wire that needs to be snipped while the seconds are counting down before the building blows. But hey…over the years, I’ve learned that every career has its’ own hazards.

When I first decided to pen stories, I never dreamed that there would be risks to this career. I mean…come on, I sit in a chair all day for pete’s sake. How dangerous could that be? Oh, sure, I’d heard about carpel tunnel, and shoulder pain, and the oh-so-dreadful condition called asshideous—when certain body parts grow to hideous proportions.

Okay, I’ll admit, my wrists tingle some times, my shoulders hurt on occasion, and my backside is larger than I care to admit, (although, I’m working on getting it smaller.) Nevertheless, this isn’t the hazards I’m talking about.

I’m talking about researchits—the condition in which research leads a writer into embarrassing, relationship damning, and some times dangerous predicaments. Case in point: I have a writer friend who is writing about a character who is a glider. Now, Colleen did one glider flight several months ago and is about to go on another. No offense to Colleen, but is she an idiot or what? (“What” being that she’s brave.) There is no freaking way I’m going to be pulled up in the air like a kite in a flimsy fiberglass faux airplane with makeshift bird wings attached. Not even to give a scene in my WIP that feel of authenticity. And her response to my remark was… “But you’re strapped in and you’re in a seat.” My reply… “Oh, great, so when they come to scrape up what’s left of the fiberglass, the bird wings, and the seat, my body will obviously be underneath?” Uh huh, not me. (Okay, just rack this up to another one of my deep, dark secrets you’ve uncovered, I’m basically a coward.)

So my researchitis condition leans more to the embarrassing and relationship damning issues. Have you ever dialed poison control and asked exactly how much Liquid Drano it would take to kill a medium-size man? Well, I don’t recommend it, unless you would like to speak to the large-sized chief of police, who by the way had no sense of humor! (I’m killing him in my next book.) Have you ever lost a maid because they didn’t like your chosen reading material? 101 Ways to Kill Someone and Getting Away With Murder. I guess the fact that my son stepped on his tube of Halloween-appropriate fake blood and squirted it across the kitchen before he went to school that morning didn’t help. But come on … like I would have killed her! Heck, I loved her, she cleaned my house.

How about trying to explain to your husband the message left on your message machine from a local “Find Your Love Connection” manager that says, “Christie, I’m so excited that you want to know more about our dating services. Please call, and I’m sure I can answer all your questions. This is going to be so much fun.”

Duh, it was research and Ms. Love Connection knew I was a writer just wanting info for a book’s possible plotline. That was why it was going to be so much fun.

But I think my favorite research story happened a few years after the dating guru message came in. My husband, who admittedly is slow at catching on to the whole research process, got another message. This one from a degreed marriage counselor/relationship fixerupper. “Ms. Craig, I got your message and wanted you to know that I checked my schedule and I’m open the day you wanted me to come and talk about marital relationship dysfunctions. I generally charge a $200 fee per hour. However, from what you’ve told me, there seems to be a lot you’ll need covered, and I have a feeling this might take longer than an hour. ”

Of course, I had called to get the good doctor to come talk to my Romance Writers Group about relationship issues between men and women. But when I got home that night after an all-day critique group I had a very worried hubby. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was the whole marital dysfunction issue or the $200 dollar charge that spurred him on. Either way, they were nice roses.

Okay, so there you have it. The dangers of writing. What do you do to keep the wolves off the front porch? Do you face career hazards or at least have some funny situations arise at work? And working at home, motherhood, and housework counts. Come on . . . share.

Crime Scene Christie

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay. Coffee all over the keyboard this morning. Seriously, girl. You need to put a warning label with your posts. LOL.

Faye

Colleen Thompson said...

LOL, Christie!

And yes, I resemble those remarks! :)

Tambra said...

Christie,
I have a number of the HowDunIt series from Writer's Digest. My husband said if anything ever happened to them they'd come after me because of those books. Poisons, Body trauma, Police Procedures...

Actually, the man didn't consider the the fact he taught me how to shoot a gun. I'm as good as he is. You'd think he'd be comforted by the fact I said, "Hey, I got your back."

Thank Goodness, my dh hasn't looked at my reserch books lately. I write paranormal romance, so I have a few books on the paranormal that he wouldn't like.

Lord, I love research!!!!

Hugs,
Tambra

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Your research sounds like much more fun than mine!!

Gemma Halliday said...

I tend to get computer viruses like crazy from the oddball research sites I visit. I think the best was when I was researching foot fetishes for UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS. All I can say is that people are strange. Though I did find one woman who puts videos of her feet online - just her feet - and pulls in 6 figures a year. :O
If the whole writing thing doesn’t work out for me... well... there's one way to put my shoe collection to use.

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

Sorry about your keyboard. ;-)

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Colleen,

Thanks for letting me use and abuse you in my post! And seriously, girl. You have to be one brave cookie.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tambra,

It's good to keep our DH on their toes. Thanks for posting girl!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

Research can be fun. It can also be a good excuse not to write. I know when I go on-line researching different types of toilet plungers because my heroine will use one--as a weapon--well, after an hour or so, I sort of know that I'm just trying to get out of writing.

My bad.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma?

Feet? I've heard of foot fetishes, but darn. People pay to see her feet? Okay...I'm taking my shoes off right now and going to see if my feet are . . . payment worthy. Maybe all of us here at Killer Fiction can go into together and create a new web site. Sort of a ...Show me your big toe, and I'll show you mind, kind of site.

Hmmm....

Crime Scene Christie

RachaelfromNJ said...

Too funny Christie! You crack me up! :)

Christie Craig said...

Rachael,

Thanks. As funny as it was, I don't think my husband appreciated it.

Crime Scene Christie

Anonymous said...

Loved your story Christie, Maybe I should have you as a "Speaker" at the next wine and chocolate fest during Nationals. Not that you don't usually have everybody rolling on the floor at those anyway. Maybe if we call it a workshop the wine/chocolate/and wahterver can be tax write offs.

Ruth

Christie Craig said...

Ruth?

Isn't wine and Chocolate already tax deductable? I mean...please, how could we write without it?

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I actually was a foot model in a former life but I didn't make six figures doing it, LOL!!

Christie, I've been doing a fair amount of procrastinating -I mean researching! - myself these days :)

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

A foot model? hmmm... Now...what were the hazards in that career? Did you get overprotective of your feet like George did with his hands on the Seinfeld show?

And honestly, I think I'd bare my feet for the world for six figures. Hey, I'm from the South, we don't wear shoes unless we have to!

Crime Scene Christie

Stacy S said...

Your poor husband. I bet you all (writers) get to do some pretty interesting research.

Christie Craig said...

Stacy S.,

Yep, writing does lead to some pretty funny stories. And our husbands have to be pretty good guys to put up with us.

But I think my husband loves it.

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

I wonder, if you were "researching" a love scene WITH your hubby, would he mind that? ;-)

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Hubby is always available! :-)

He's just the helpful kind of guy.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Christie - your poor husband! That was too funny!

Terry said...

i'm in the business of selling dolls. As most people know sometimes women shop as a form of comfort when they are feeling down they buy things and it makes them feel better. Most of the time , i am informed not to speak to anyone other than the customer if i need to call to talk to them about a doll they may have had me order.
Well , i made a bad mistake one day and called a house, a man answered so I asked could i speak to my customer. The man told me that she wasn't home did i want to leave a message. I told him yes could he tell her that I was from xyz doll shop and that her doll had come in . Well i dont know why i did that the next thing i knew he said to you SO YOUR THE ONE Selling my wife all them dolls.
Needless to say i didnt try to reach her by phone again.

thanks again Christie for a great story.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Okay - now I am forced to admit that the foot model thing wasn't as intriguing as it sounds! I modeled clothing for a local department store for their newspaper ads and on a couple of occasions they asked me to model SOCKS.

See? I told you it wasn't really that interesting. Not like the fetish lady at all... (unless a guy really likes SOCKS, that is!) But they did pay the same hourly rate for my feet as they did for all of me :)

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

He got over it really quick. What I love is after one of these things happens, he always get that look on his face and then he says..."You going to use this aren't you?"

He's a smart man.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

Oh, goodness. I guess we should live by the advice that...What happens while shopping...stays in shopping.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

Okay...so it wasn't the dream job. I still like it. In my mind I can see all sorts of funny situations. Like the photographer says..."Okay, now let's try something risky. Pull the sock down just a bit and show me just a little ankle."

Crime Scene Christie

TJ Bennett said...

Funny post, Christie, as usual.

I've often worried that some of the books I've bought on the internet as research, and some of the research I've done on the internet, will come back to haunt me. Terrorism, gun videos, Kama Sutra positions, the vulnerabilities inherent in Los Angeles' water supply and just how one would go about poisoning it if one was so inclined...scary stuff. I swear, Officer, I'm just doing research!! :-)

TJB

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I want to know what sort of books Amazon suggests for you guys, based on your previous purchases?? "Other people who bought The Kama Sutra also bought..."
;D

The sock modeling was still a step up (no pun intended!) from the halloween tinsel wig for one ad...

Christie Craig said...

TJ,

Oh, yes, I can see it now. The headlines will read...TJ Bennett suspected of poisoning LA's water supply. You are going to be in so much more trouble than I am. I'm only going to be accused of killing one medium-size man. :-)

Tis a writer's life.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Okay Jenyfer,

The Holloween wig made me laugh. And as far as recommended books? I've never bought any on-line yet. But hey, I did have my email address banned from a forign county and was told I was being investigated.

I replied back to them and said..."Hey, I'm 4'11, basically a coward, and I don't think I'm a threat to much of anyone."

They emailed me back almost instantly and told me I was cleared.

I was sort of insulted that they did it so quickly. I guess I don't live a very exciting life.

Crime Scene Christie

Minna said...

Lol! Too funny!

Estella said...

Loved the post! Too funny.

Christie Craig said...

Minna,

Thanks for posting! I'm glad I gave you a chuckle. Come back soon.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

Thanks for popping in.

Crime Scene Christie

Nathalie said...

You also gave me a chuckle thanx!

Lila said...

Oh, I am so late posting. I was on vacation and have nothing to share

Lily said...

Writing all day... poor back and hands!! You need good massages.

Med student talking :)