Research Rejection, Part II

rejection 2My first rejection came from a rude secretary in the Quad Cities when I was driving the route Mallory took in Beta. I stopped at a plant that processed meat gelatin. (Yeah, sounds disgusting to me, too) When I asked the secretary if there was a PR person available she told me one didn’t exist. When I asked her who might help me, she said he wasn’t available. I gave her my name and contact information and I think she threw it in the trash when I left. Maybe she was upset that construction in the building was so loud or maybe ‘rude’ was her personality. Anyway, she ended up being rude to Mallory in the story.

My next stop was at the meat processors in downtown Davenport. The flustered receptionist was baffled at what I wanted, flapped a hand at an employee directory, and disappeared. When I spoke with the correct employee, she told me she couldn’t help me because of proprietary reasons. Again, I didn’t want to steal secrets, I just wanted general information on how the pig slaughtering process went. Nope, no go. I ended up speaking with a friend who worked in a similar plant in Ottumwa and he gave me the information and no corporate sabotage was committed. The flustered receptionist went into the book.

I put these next two rejections as one because they involved the same bit of research. For Alpha, I needed information about railroads and train cars. I knew someone who worked at a repair shop in Albia. I traveled all the way down there, saw the ‘Visitors Welcome’, elevated to the third floor, asked to speak to the employee and was told, curtly, no. No reason given, end of conversation. I should have given my information to pass along, but felt it probably would have also ended up in the trash. So much for the welcome sign.train

Then I visited the Des Moines rail yard with a friend. We took pictures of signs and trains and discovered a maintenance dirt road that ran along the north side and dead-ended under a bridge. I thought the location was the perfect spot for the climactic scene in Alpha. But I still needed specific information about trains. I stopped into an employee break room and was directed to another office where I was given a number to a representative in Omaha.

Back home I called the number, gave the guy my schtick, and happened to mention that I had visited the Des Moines location and that I had driven the maintenance road. He told me I had trespassed and to not do it again. Oops! Anyway, I emailed him a list of questions and he didn’t respond. Sigh! I ended up getting the information one morning from a former railroad worker who was a guest at the motel at which I worked.

Then there’s the latest one with the casino. I also called a local media representative since the woman I spoke with at the casino told me they worked with media, but although he didn’t outright reject me, he couldn’t offer the kind of assistance I wanted. Left to fend for myself, I discovered a bunch of factoids on my own via the Internet.

Of course, this means I can’t use the actual name of the casino/racetrack in the story. I do not want anything to come back upon me even though nothing bad happens in the chapter, no crimes committed. That’s okay, I’ve changed the names of other businesses.

Next week, I’ll present some examples of rejection from other authors.

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2 thoughts on “Research Rejection, Part II

  1. Very interesting blog post. Fascinating to hear how so many businesses are ‘above board and doing the right thing’ until you ask a question and then it’s all a big secret. Hope you write it out like that in your book and too bad you can’t actually name the real places, but of course, you cant. Good luck with your story.

  2. I Beta I use a real business location but fictionalize the name because of a couple of sleazy characters who work there. I think the one place I did stay with was a library even though I use the place for a murder scene. Even the places where the reps were nice I fictionalize. However, those where the reps weren’t nice, I tend to use that type of character when speaking about them.

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