Last week, the “Lucky 13s” discussed the strangest web searches they’ve ever had to make while researching a story.
Of course it got me thinking...what was my weirdest search?
There were the bits about whether or not Leonardo da Vinci’s weapon plans would actually be viable to attack a small fortress... Or the time I looked up “what were the Grimms’ most violent fairy tales?” And then of course I did a suspicious amount of research on the guillotine for CIRQUE, including some forays into the question of whether or not one of its victims could really smile at you after his head had already been severed (the answer is probably ‘yes’).
But the question that makes me blush the most is for an adult short story I’m working on now, about a young woman in Victorian London who for a time considers becoming a prostitute in order to take care of her orphaned siblings.
My question: “Where would you find a prostitute in Victorian London? And how much money did they make?”
Yeah. LUCKILY, I had a book* in which I found the answer. Because I just couldn’t type that into a search engine without blushing from my head to my feet. Thank goodness for old-fashioned research. Otherwise the Peelers** might be after me.
So, what about you? What was your oddest research question?
*What Jane Austen Knew and Charles Dickens Ate. It’s as entertaining as it is informative.
**Peelers: n. slang. the company of British policemen organized by Robert Peel. Also known as “bobbies.”