Sometimes, when I'm trying to get the creative juices flowing on a particular scene, it helps to look things up. Some of those things are helpful, some turn out to be just a way to procrastinate. This morning, stuck with how to get from the scene I'm in to the scene I want to come next, I noodled around with a few ideas, came up with an analogy between the way you can be suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that the person you love is no longer there after a death and the way it feels to drown. Great. Nice. Works well.
But, my conscious, and always helpful, brain pointed out, you've never drowned, you should look it up.
So I did. I found a couple of citations that gave me great information.
From a lifeguard of 15+ years who has seen lots of people drown, die, and been revived.
A compelling description from someone who was shipwrecked.
Unfortunately they only served to show me that the actual details of drowning weren't really necessary for what I wanted to write.
But then this caught my eye in the Google search results:
What does it feel like to drown? If you're decapitated, how long do you remain conscious? New Scientist has a fascinating feature on how it ...
And I just had to take a look.
How it feels to die.
The answer, it turns out, is seven seconds if the blade that severs your head is sharp and makes a clean cut.
So there, in a nutshell, is what writers do with their time. Aren't you so glad you asked?