|Me and “Jane”
I believe in being thorough when I take on a project. Any project. From cleaning the toys after nursery duty on Sunday to wearing my character’s skin like a glove. Okay that was too Silence of the Lambs weird. “Put on the lotion!” eeew.
Before I unravel my freakish mind before your eyes, let me preface everything with this: I don’t mock or make light of individuals who have experienced some of the things my fictional characters do or endure. In fact, some of my research came in the form of tragic experiences in my life.
I wrote a blog last Friday asking if some research was going too far? No one said it was. Please read my prelude to today’s blog HERE!
I’m not a lone researcher and when I need to do something a little off the wall or unorthodox, I enlist my BFF, “Jane.” Refer back to “here” to read about why!
Let’s take a look at a few things I’ve done to get into my characters’ heads. It’s called Deep POV. You can read a great article on Deep POV here, by my friend and one of my crit partners, Michelle Massaro.
We stalked someone for about a month. I chose a man because I didn’t want to scare a woman half to death if I botched it and got caught. (which I didn’t)
* I have changed this man’s occupation, where we found him, and his name to protect him, although he really doesn’t deserve it.
I chose a local hardware store and we scouted. Bingo!
We looked at each other, eyes glazed over– drunk on our mission and laughed, “Bwhahahahahahahahaha!”
I sent “Jane” inside to gather information while I casually walked near his car. You can find a lot out about someone from what’s in their car. Kids? Organized? What they read. Music they listen to. Please don’t ever look in my mini van!
At about 2:45 p.m. I get a text: Name: Joe. Married. I saw the ring. OMG he saw me looking at him! What do I do?
I text back: Look away???
Jane’s text: LOL I smiled. OMG I hope he doesn’t think it’s a come-on
I text back: Get a grip.
Jane’s text: over and out
I text back: We’re not truckers
…and thought to myself, maybe I should have done this alone.
The next morning I pulled into the lot at 8ish. She climbed in the van. “Did you bring coffee?”
“I thought we were supposed to drink coffee and eat donuts?” She pouted and frowned at me.
“That’s a stake-out. We’re on the other side of the law, remember? Stalkers. Stalkers don’t drink coffee and eat donuts.”
“Well what do they do while they watch?” She folded her arms across her chest, clearly disappointed she wasn’t getting free breakfast.
I gave her a pointed look. “Nothing we’re gonna do. I’m not getting that deep into character.”
She giggled. “Wish I had coffee. Oh! There he is!”
“Stop bouncing! Lay low.”
She scooched down in her seat.
“Oh for the love! Like that’s not obvious. Sit up!” I sighed and put my sunglasses on, looking out of my peripheral vision. I can tell by his car that he’s organized, clean. He’s well dressed. and he’s conscious about his looks. He totally primped in his rearview. Jane falls into fits of giggles. “Hush.”
“The windows are up.”
I laughed at myself. “Oh, right.”
Ten seconds later another car pulled up and a cute little brunette stepped out and handed him a coffee. “Who’s she?”
Janes studied her. “I don’t know.”
“Guess we better find out.”
On Thursday, Jane came over like every Thursday and we did some serious researching. We found him on facebook.
Then we discovered the female was his friend on there–not his wife– and her banter seemed a little too friendly, or maybe we were trying to turn it into something it wasn’t. It would take more stalking, well, now private investigating to see.
“No, we’re still not getting donuts and coffee.”
We spent the next week watching the two walk into work together. He sat in his car on the phone, a few minutes later she would pull up–on her phone, and then they would hang up and get out of their cars.
Jane looked at me with wide eyes. “You think they were talking to each other?”
“Really?” she asked surprised.
“No,” I responded flatly, “not really.”
“What should we do?”
“Well if his wife was paying us $200 an hour, we’d take photos and tell her, but since I’m pretty sure we might be breaking the law, we do nothing.”
She stepped out of the van and got in her truck. “I’ll text you.”
We had one more mission. We knew where he worked out, his hobbies, his favorite sports and where he attended college–thanks to facebook and the gym bag in the back seat of his car. But where did he live?
We needed to follow him. One, to find out if I could without getting caught and two, well there is no two.
After his shift, Jane jumped in my van and we followed him to the gym–where he worked out for an hour. Jane walked across the street to the gas station and bought snacks. They didn’t have donuts.
An hour later, he’d obviously showered, he got his hair cut, ran through the drive-thru, Oh, Joe, there went your excercise routine. We drove to Wal-Mart. Yes we went in, yes we followed.
Two nights later we decided to go out at night and rummage through his trash. Jane met me at the house and we hopped in the trusty van. We eased down the street–lights off– and I decided, maybe we shouldn’t dig through his trash. I looked over to tell Jane about my reservations and lo and behold all I saw was her eyes.
Just her eyes and mouth. “What the heck are you doing?”
“I don’t want to get caught!”
“Unless that mask has invisible powers, which I doubt, you can still get caught! We’re not robbing the guy!” I try not to laugh; it’s ridiculous.
“We’re taking his trash,” she counters.
“No, we’re digging through it. I don’t wanna take it.”
“Hey, remember that movie with Ashley Judd and the stalker dug through her trash and knew when it was her time of the month?”
“I doubt we’ll know when his time of month is, but yeah I remember it.” I rolled my eyes and put my head against the seat. “I think we might be going too far. I mean, Tim will kill me if he has to bail me out of jail.” I was pretty sure I could get away with it, but just in case…”Take that mask off. You’re freaking me out.”
She took it off and we headed home. No trash digging. But I found out, I could stalk easily. Sometimes, morbid I know, it was exciting. I also found out people are disappointing. I have no doubt after the few weeks we spent that Joe was involved with the little brunettte who brought him coffee and rubbed his back a little too intimately on the way into work.
Did we violate his privacy? I don’t think so, since, he doesn’t know it. And I didn’t blackmail him or prank call him. I do suggest you check your privacy settings on your social networking pages if you want to keep some things private. Since he didn’t, I can only assume it was for the whole world to see. Are you offended? I’m sorry.
I’ve retired my stalking days. Doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on to other things.
|Yes, this is me in “Jane’s” vehicle
“Jane” has abducted me and drove around town.
“I need you to tie me up, blindfold me, and drive me around.” That’s how I answered the door one Thursday morning.
She set her six-string down. “Okay. Can I pee first?”
I want you to know, it isn’t like the movies at all. You can use your feet to brace yourself, but when a turn is made, you lose it and roll around like a can out of a grocery bag. It wasn’t scary…at first. My point in wanting to do this was to see if I could get out of the binds (which I couldn’t–Jane is married to an ex-boyscout and she knows how to tie a knot) and I wanted to know if I could keep up with the direction and turns. (I couldn’t)
When I realized I had no control at all, I panicked and it reminded me of a incident that almost happened to me when I was 22, when I really was almost abducted. That did freak me out. My head hit something hard several times and the turns made me dizzy and disoriented.
Then at the end, she got a hair brain idea that she was going to “run from cops.” With NO warning, she sped up and started making crazy turns and slammed on her brakes over and over. I hollered for her to stop.
When she finally pulled back in my drive, I was nearly in tears. She opened the hatch, pulled off my blind fold–smiling–“Well, did you get your story?”
“I think you dislocated my shoulder and broke two of my fingers. I said ‘stop!'”
She helped me out. “Oh, I thought you were in character.”
“No. No I was not.”
Apparently, we need a “safe” word. I know we sound morbid and maybe even insensitive. We’re not. Really. Just look at us!
What’s your favorite Easter Candy? (has zip to do with the blog, I know)
Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday! He’s alive! For the Passover parallel, you can click here.