Thursday, May 26, 2011

I would assume....


Why would any writer in 2011 “assume” anything. This came about on a blog I saw where someone posted some thoughts about writing a fan-fic. “I would assume that LAPD had helicopters,” and such was the reasoning that they’d have to have a chase at night. One, jut ask any resident of Los Angeles and you will get an earful about the helicopters of the LAPD…mostly the incessant chatter overhead.

As a side note, the errieest thing about the week post 9/11, as a resident of LA, was how QUIET it was. All air traffic was grounded. The steady back-beat from the air, that’s so prevalent, you don’t even consciously hear it, was suddenly gone. But I digress.

So the chase must therefore happen at night when the helicopters couldn’t “see” the guy.  One look at LAPD’s blog (yes, they have one) will tell you that the LAPD uses two types of night vision.  One is typical night vision -- the green black imaging -- then the other is infrared -- heat tracking. LAPD, like a good deal of most cop shops these days, has a blog. And like many cops, they act like seventeen year old boys when discussing their technology. They love to talk about it.

When I’m writing about a specific organization, the first place I go is that organization’s website. Now, sometimes, they don’t have one and you have to do a deeper search. I’ve run into it. I’ve had to...OMG, pic up the phone and call a department and say I’m a novelist and I have a character who just gets pulled over by one of your officers and what kind of uniforms do you have?  That may be more effort than you want to put out for a fan fic, but for a book you’re going to put on the market? Do it. Get it right. 

We owe it to the readers.

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