The first book I ever wrote was a YA zombie apocalypse novel. In my defense, this was before THE WALKING DEAD became a TV show, before WORLD WAR Z was made into a movie, and before the plethora of YA zombie novels that now exist.

It’s not very good.

Correction: it’s not good.

Mostly, for me it was about learning that I could write a novel. That I could make up some people and lead them through roughly 300 pages of made-up events. Along the way, one of the things I also learned is that Google is a ridiculously valuable research tool even for writers. But sometimes I had to Google things that made me uncomfortable, things that might make anyone just perusing my search history wonder if they should report me to the authorities. Here’s a sampling:

Types of guns

How to fire a gun

How to reload a gun 

Taste of human flesh 

Map of cave systems in US

(The story practically writes itself, eh?)

After that, I wrote two contemporary YA novels, so my search history mellowed out a bit. However, I’m getting ready to revise a dark fantasy story I’ve been working on, and the sketchiness factor has ratcheted up. Here’s what I’ve been scouring the Internet for in recent days:

Filipino myths and legends

Filipino ghost stories 

Map of Cemeterio Norte de Manila (North Cemetery of Manila) 

Cemetery squatters

Human corpse rate of decomposition 




Cult leader psychological profile 

Cult member psychological profile 





Bolo knife 

Sacrificial rituals

Aaaaaand that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Fellow writers, what are some of YOUR sketchiest search terms for the sake of story?



  1. Always a fun topic! Love your zombie book research list. My sketchiest research topics for writing (so far!) are:
    -how to pick a lock
    -underground US government bunkers
    -Headquarters of the Bundeskriminalamt (the German equivalent of the FBI)
    -virology, especially how to ensure a blood-borne virus is transmitted to masses of people

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How a virus infects cells
    Different kinds of cells in the body
    The black death
    Prepping and preppers
    Can you be immune to a virus
    Can you target a virus at certain people

    If you’re book research doesn’t get you on a watch list, you’re doing it wrong 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I can top this. I had a minor character (villain) who was a Klansman.

    I googled “KKK flag,” “blood drop jacket,” “pipe bomb,” “NAACP,” and “ACLU” in under an hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t worry, I’ve googled many things while writing a murder mystery. Ie.:
    -How to break into the Pentagon
    -How to hack into Homeland Security
    -How fast a biological weapon can kill people
    -How to kill someone with a paperclip
    (So far, I have not gotten notice of being on a watch list)


  5. Well, in the past I’ve googled things like…
    -how to assassinate a president
    -Komodo Dragon venom
    -Wendigo psychosis
    -psychological effects of starvation
    -best torture methods
    -how to cause the most pain
    -how to decompose a body
    -faking your own suicide

    Currently, I’m working on a new mystery story, and my search history from the past two days is very odd.
    -French mafia
    -how long does it take to bleed to death
    -heroin withdrawal symptoms
    -how long does heroin withdrawal last
    -can you die from heroin withdrawal
    -how long does a gunshot wound take to heal

    I’m just waiting for the FBI to come knocking…


  6. Looked up “Adult movies starring children” before remembering “adult movies” has a particular connotation. I was just thinking stuff like stranger things…


  7. I looked up “boiling point for blood” and then got curious and asked “does blood bubble like gravy or water when it reaches boiling point,” and I’m genuinely sorry about that


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s