Extreme writing research: Biometrics

In 2016 I enrolled in a year of tertiary study to help my writing. Not unusual, but I didn’t do a traditional “writing 101” type course. Uhuh. Not me. I studied biometrics.

This course (Certificate IV in Biometric Technologies) provided practical training in biometric recognition. Biometrics are biological or behavioural characteristics that can be used for identification or verification purposes.

As in most cozy mysteries my protagonist has a connection with someone ‘in the know’ from whom she can weasel out extra information. In the case of my story, that person is a CSI. So I want to make sure I know what I am writing about.

During this course I learnt things like face, fingerprint, iris and voice biometric technologies, court procedures and forensic digital imaging.

I loved it and can’t wait to start the refresher. The refresher? Yep, I’ve just enrolled in a 4 week course to keep my knowledge up-to-date in this rapidly advancing industry.

Have you ever done anything to help make your writing more realistic?

10 comments on “Extreme writing research: Biometrics

  1. That sounds like a lot of fun! Work, yes, and studying, but still fascinating, which always makes the work not feel as much like labor. Good for you! I love expanding horizons.

    • It was fun even though it was a lot of work. I think when you choose study like this (with no pressure of a job hanging over you) it is easier to be relaxed about it.

      • That’s a fact. I learned more while homeschooling my kids than I did when I was in school myself. I didn’t have to perform for a grade, and I somehow retained more of the information because of it. My kids are the same way. The things they “had” to study were never their favorites, and they struggled to recall the information sometimes. But the stuff they looked up for fun really cemented itself.

  2. That is so cool, AJ. I have traveled to libraries to research. I spent 3 days at Notre Dame University’s glorious library and 1 full day at the Library of Congress. Those are highlights of my life–days of research!

    • I love researching. I have to be careful I don’t let it take over because when I start I get totally sucked in.

  3. Now, that’s commitment to verisimilitude.

    • Lol, yes, that has been said a few times to me. But it’s going to be paying itself back because I am going to be presetning a workshop on Biometrics at an upcoming writers conference (which I will blog about in the near future).

  4. Research is always worth the effort, and you never know, this one may inspire another story. All the best with that! I have to admit, my research usually just involves afternoons at the State Librsrt, though the most extreme research I’ve ever done was to join the SCA to learn about mediaeval fighting. I did learn what NOT to do with a sword!

    • The RWA conferences often have fighting tyle workshops (we had sword fighting workshops at two recent conferences). This year there is a session titled “fight like a girl” which is on something along the lines of how men and women respond differently to fight situations.

  5. That’s fascinating! I didn’t even know it was called biometric recognition. I haven’t done that kind of research for a book, but I would love to geek out over it.

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