In all likelihood I’m on the way to Indianapolis as you read this, but thanks to the magic of the internet, I can also blather about writing research. Not so much about the actual nuts and bolts of research; really, I’m just passing on a few cool websites I’ve found while trolling science blogs for my day job.
One of the great things about being a writer is creatively killing characters. (In all honesty, it’s been awhile since one of my characters has bitten the dust; I’m overdue.) Sure, bombs and explosions and gunfire and knife fights are good ways to kill Joe Blow Redshirt. But what about poison? It’s not just for Agatha Christie novels, you know. These blogs are great if you need or want your poison with a side of medical science.
The Poison Review. This one is written by medical toxicology professor and former ER doctor. He talks a lot of poisons of all ilk, timely intoxicants (if a new bath salts story breaks he’s all over it), and little-known chemicals that somehow find their way into someone’s blood stream. If you’re not a medical or laboratory professional, some of his jargon might get a little, well, jargony. But you’re doing research, right? Keep researching.
Elemental. Part of Wired magazine’s science blog block, Deborah Blum writes about poison from an investigative journalist’s perspective. She’s as much into why a man would poison his wife as how the particular poison affected the deceased. She’s also very much into the history of poisons, which is cool to read about. She’s written a book on the subject (The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York) that’s on my list of books to buy.
Do you have any good poison references?