Working on Get Back Jack this morning, the second novel in my Hunt for Jack Reacher series, the question was how fast an elevator travels from the ground to the 22d floor of a high rise office building in Washington DC. Anybody want to guess?
Lee Child has famously claimed that he does no research when writing 18 Jack Reacher thrillers. Joe Finder disagreed with Lee about that claim a while back. If you missed it, you can read the friendly jousting for yourself. Click Here.
Maybe Lee writes without much research because he has a phenomenal memory for factoids and figures and other manly things. He need never go back, right? Me? I’m like Joe. I need to look things up.
When I was writing Don’t Know Jack, I spent more than an hour researching the distance from an airport jetway to the ground for a scene in chapter fifteen where Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar jump across the five-foot void and risk falling. If they didn’t make it, could they have died? Maybe.
Kim’s fear of flying is cemented by the reality that she knows too much about the risks of flying. This sends me to real plane crash investigation reports and black box transcripts where investigators determine why real airplanes sometimes fall from the sky.
The answers to these questions are never as simple as they should be.
So, how fast does an elevator travels from the ground to the 22d floor of a high rise office building in Washington DC?
Turns out, the speed of elevators varies based on a complicated series of factors. The type of elevator, its age, the age of the building are all important. The elevator is slower coming off the ground than going up once it’s lifted from ground level. And so on. Who knew?
So how long does the elevator ride from the lobby to Dave O’Donnell’s office in a Washington DC office building last? After all that, I simply had to make an educated guess and finesse it a bit.
Here’s what I learned.
Because the elevator one rides almost to the top of the Empire State Building, travels the first 80 floors in 45 seconds, I settled on “less than 30 seconds” for Otto & Gaspar’s 22 floor elevator ride.
Am I wrong? Anybody know?
As always, thank you for reading!
p.s. Don’t forget the three big April Showers you with fun stuff right now. If you missed it: CLICK HERE. More exciting news coming very soon, so be sure you’re subscribed to Licensed to Thrill!