1. Sarah Naidoo

    Sarah Naidoo Member

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    Anybody writing crime/murder mystery in South Africa?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Sarah Naidoo, Apr 16, 2024.

    Hi there,

    I'm working on a crime novel and I feel I need to speak to an expert in the field for research. I've written loads of fiction, but I've never really written something that needed this much real-world information.

    There is little on the internet about police procedures and practices in South Africa, however I am still digging. If you have any resources, please share :)

    Do you know any experts related to police procedures and murder investigations in South Africa?
    Has anyone encountered this problem with their novel? How did you overcome it?
    If I have identified a few experts in my country, is it appropriate for a writer to approach experts to consult on these things? Do they charge a fee?
     
  2. Dante Dases

    Dante Dases Contributor Contributor

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    I don't claim to in any way be an expert on police procedure in SA. Ask me the same about England and Wales, and I can pontificate on the subject for hours, though. What I will say is that the 'procedure' in police procedure tends to be the dullest part of the narrative. Line of Duty succeeded because it broke away from procedure while making it believable. There is no AC-12 in real life. Loose procedures were followed enough to make it believable, but not so strictly as to break the narrative on the anvil of reality.

    What exactly is needed? Maybe you should look into cherry-picking, writing the story then making adjustments retrospectively. What can you work with? If you're struggling to find information and have limited knowledge to start with, your readers will be in a similar place. Can your narrative fill the gaps left by the paucity of information?

    As for approaching experts - go for it. Never anything wrong with asking questions if your own research falls short. Most of us on here will have asked questions. What is research if not doing just that? The only difference is that rather than refer to books, the internet, or expertise in some media form, you're going direct to source. I had a question about police procedure a while back, and went to an ex-copper I work with. He didn't know the answer, so he called someone still on the force and put them in touch with me. Ask people around you. If you know a police officer, speak to them about what they must do in certain circumstances. Sometimes people might want to charge a consultancy fee, but you can normally find the information is free elsewhere.
     
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  3. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Book Witch Contributor

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    contact your municipal library.
    i just did a quick search of Durban, South Africa and the libraries there. I havent looked at all of them but the Ethekwini Municipal Library has research assistance.
    I would always utilize local resources first if writing in/on locale.

    Edit To Add: I'm NOT telling you to do this as a cop-out for not providing more direct assistance. Just that it would be better to reach out to your local library. I currently work in a library as the Law Librarian. sometimes we just have more resources (or knowledge of resources), even access to databases that someone else may not have.
    We currently have a legal database that is only accessible on location, for example.

    I dont know is SA is like that, but its worth a shot!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2024
  4. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Contributor Contributor Contest Winner 2023

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    That's got to be the most badass title a librarian could possibly have. Did not know that was a thing. It's giving me Dredd vibes. Is this you in the morning?
     
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  5. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Book Witch Contributor

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    I should totally make a Judge Dredd button and wear it around :D
     
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    'member before they had CGI and actors had to ride real props through real fire? I 'member.
     

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