Someone, somewhere probably has a file open on me. Also, over the past year or two I’ve got to know some other authors – and I’m pretty sure that same someone will probably have files on them too.
Often it’ll be one of the kids who gets me thinking abut these things and today was no different. Having arrived this morning at a section close to the end of the long awaited (by me at least) second book in the Club Medusa series, I hit a point where I needed to explain something – and so, some serious writery thought was required.
So, I went through to the kitchen, sat down and generally peered into space (as I do), mulling over possibilities for the scene. My 12 year old daughter then walked in to make lunch for herself.
After a couple of minutes she asked, “What are you doing anyway?”
“I’m thinking,” I said.
“About a scene in the book I’m working on, I have to explain whats going on with a character and I’m working out how to do it,”
“Why? Whats happening?”
“Well, two characters are having a knife fight in front of a hostile, armed audience and they know one of them is probably going to die horribly as a result. But one of them has an old Madonna song constantly playing in their head, and I need to explain why that is.”
“Uh, okay then.” She said, giving me a sideways look as she walked off munching her ham wrap. Just another day with Dad then. Obviously.
With my background I do have a good idea of what’s involved in catching bad guys these days and as a general rule, the bigger and badder the guys (and girls) are, the more online activity they will be involved in. So yes, online is a way to monitor catch bad people and catch them before they do bad things.
So I cant help but imagine this scenario down in GCHQ:
Analyst: “Boss, can you have a look at this record?”
Boss: “What’s up?”
Analyst: “This guy White up in Scotland, look at his browser history – nothing but red flags,”
Boss: “Show me,”
Analyst: “See? All over this last year – best way to kill someone with bare hands – available black market handguns in the UK – nutritional values of human flesh – practical field bullet surgery – explosives used in UK/US military munitions – history and tactics of the IRA and domestic UK terrorism – Gulf War Coalition war crimes – undisclosed UK military bases – government conspiracies against their own people – functions of GCHQ (bloody Hell, thats us!) – black ops financing – false flag conspiracies – Prime Ministers and bestiality – the list goes on. He’s obviously a complete nutter.”
Boss: (Looks concerned) “Hmm, I see. Right dodgy one this. Maybe we should send a drone up. Can you scroll down a bit further?”
Analyst: “Sure,” (Presses keyboard buttons and looks intense)
Boss: (Suddenly looks relieved) “Ah – there, see? He also Googled ‘Where should I put Commas’, ‘What are Semi-Colons’ and ‘How Many Words are Considered Too Many for a Sequel Novel’. It’s another bloody writer…”
Analyst: “Damn. Okay, I’ll cancel the drone strike.”
True story (probably).
As I sharpen my editing cutlass in preparation for the next draft, there are no guarantees that every red flag subject will be included in the final version (and believe me, those ones were just off the top of my head) – however, if nothing else, you do learn some interesting and disturbing truths about the real world as you make stories up for other people to read.
But I still have no doubt that someone, somewhere will be reading about me – reading about them…