Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled for your novel?




So as a writer, I must admit that Google is one of my best friends (apart from all my awesome writer friends). Google Maps Streetview was essential to my writing Hooligans In Shining Armour (as I don’t live in where it’s set). I could plop that little yellow dude down on any street I wanted and just “walk” around the neighborhood. Amazing! Pretty much any question I ever have, all I need to do is type it into Google and–like magic–I get the answer. Being able to connect to writers around the world is also awesome.

I can’t imagine how difficult writing must have been before the wonder that in the internet was invented. Going to libraries, using card catalog to find books, probably having to hunt through many libraries to get all the books you need, sitting at those for hours sifting through newspapers on a microfiche reader (yup I did Google “whats the machine called you use to look at old newspapers.” Yes, I have used it before, I swear!). Though I will say, it may have been a bit easier to stay focused on writing without Monty Python GIFs and a plethora of “Evolution of Dance,” Epic Rap Battles of History, and 139239450442345 videos beckoning.

Here’s one more treasure from my wasted time tonight:

Old Hamster Dance:



Versus new Hamster Dance:


Anyway, I have to say my search engine has some PRETTY interesting things that pop up in the history. Here’s a sampling:

1. Places to hide guns
2. Expensive black high heel shoes.
3. How big is a coffin (my husband still talks about this one! I was working late one night, trying to see how long a coffin was for my character to mention, my husband comes out of our room to get a glass of water and sees this…. Needless to say there were many jokes with friends about how I may be plotting his demise :P))
4. healing from a kneecapping belfast
5. Axe body spray
6. mixing alcohol and tranquilizers
7. can you re-take A-levels
8. Four Loko
9. Gauging your ears point of no return
10.hipster jeans
11. Justin Bieber profile photo
12. kinds of punches in boxing
13. lyrics to billy boys
14. Minging meaning
15. naff
16. oh ah up the ra
17. pointer finger (because someone told me that was an american thing to say…)
18. Riot July 1 2011
19. sensations of fear in the body
20. tall boys
21. up the duff
22. what is the color of the sky right before the sun comes up
23. you’re a geg

What’s the most random thing you’ve Googled for a novel?

30 thoughts on “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled for your novel?

    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      OMG me too!!! Especially living in Singapore! Also I was going to do some research into heroin, but thought better of that, too lol. (death penalty here for bringing drugs in!)


  1. Victoria Davenport

    Haha! I love this 🙂 Especially the coffin one when your husband walked in…how funny! Mostly, my random searches are me trying to describe the word I can’t think of (like “when you walk kind of slow but laidback cool” for saunter) or combat/violence related things, since I am entirely clueless. Things like “how to kill someone with bare hands” “how to win a fight against someone bigger” or “unique ways to kill in hand-to-hand combat”. I’m pretty sure most writers are on some sort of watchlist for their searches 🙂


  2. Sierra

    You’re… you’re… a… GENIUS. Google Maps Street View?! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? I must be the last writer alive to not put two and two together on that point. I just… well… yep, *throws up white flag* I give up for today.


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Yesssss!! I always wanted to be a genius! Haha glad to help a sister out! I’ve shared this secret with other writers as well, so you’re not the LAST writer alive not to think of that.


      1. Charles Colp

        Lol, Sprite is working on it. Two serials done and she has destroyed one and left the other imprisoned in his own skin on a beach. Since he could never be fully destroyed without her fiance’ being forced to take his place in hell. So only 298 to go now. Lol


  3. lorellepage

    I’ve shied away from researching guns and knives. Do these seacrhes get picked up? I mean if I google : “best gun to use for….or best knife to conceal ..where can you conceal a knife…” it’s worrying! Or secret service combat techniques…


  4. D.R.Sylvester

    I’ve googled squat toilets (as in the porcelain is a trough set in the floor with a pedal to flush) for a book… I should probably add at this point that nobody does anything near a toilet in my story. Oh, except fall through one…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Haha on I know what those are. Living in Southeast Asia, if we’re thinking of the same thing, they are unfortunately all over. haha what were you writing??? And did they fall through a squat toilet?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. D.R.Sylvester

        Mayyybe… In their defence, they were drunk and wounded, and being pursued by the navy, and the toilet wasn’t plumbed: it just opened directly onto the harbour. (And yes, there really is a toilet matching this description out there, scary as it sounds)


  5. Erica Judd

    I loved researching using the library and microfiche! I remember when the libraries in Tassie got the shiny new microfiche readers! But I digress. (I do still use the saturation research method that involves getting EVERY BOOK I CAN FIND from the library and then skimming for the info I want.) I live in a small town and know my librarian well, so she doesn’t turn a hair at anything that turns up for me, she just asks what I’m writing now! 😉
    To get to your actual question, though, I don’t have a proper list because of the Great Laptop Crash, but the ones that come to mind are “the diameter of leg shackles”, “how long does it take to bleed out” (which was conveniently answered by an episode of Gunther’s ER that happened to come on TV that night, thank you Writing Gods!), and it’s not Google, but I did spend one evening finding out exactly what kind of old surgical/medical equipment a person could easily buy from eBay…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Hahaaaaaa!! Just think of what the NSA might extrapolate if you had googled all those things LOLOL. Also, it’s cool that you still kick it old school when you can 😛


      1. Erica Judd

        I did all my education and a good chunk of my writing pre-internet, so old school is my school. 😉
        On more than one occasion my daughter and I have wondered how many red flags the Feds have on my internet activities!


  6. Eliza

    Haha. I was about to write this exact post after googling “what would remain of a human body after 10 years” and thinking about the alerts that was sending off.

    I’ve been wandering around on Google Street view a lot since my story starts in a made up town that is a conglomerate of several towns, then moves on to known places. I’ve been creating the feel of the journey for myself.


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Hahahaaaa so what would remain? Actually no I don’t want to know :P.

      Yeah, I’d imagine Google maps would help me with an imaginary town as well, there’s just so many details my brain wouldn’t be able to think of when trying to flesh it out!


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