Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kill me, already

We writers are an odd lot, and we freely admit that. A lot of people hate to write, and we scribes devote large chunks of our time to putting words on paper--or on the monitor screen, as it were. We agonize over grammar, theme, plot, dialog, character, and on and on. We can practically get into fistfights over punctuation.

And if being a writer isn't loony enough, we at Type M are mystery writers. Which means we not only spend a lot of time writing, we spend a lot of time thinking about murder. Homicide in all its forms: Executions. Gangland slayings. Shiving. Sniper shots. Beat downs. Bombs. Arson. Poisons!

I forget that not all writers are so obsessed by violence. This week I was at a planning meeting at Lighthouse Writers to pimp their Denver visit of Junot Diaz. We kicked around ideas to make his trip truly memorable, and I chimed in: "We could kill him."

Then his Denver visit would definitely be Tweeted like a mo-fo. The other writers at the meeting were horrified that I could think of such a thing. (It was just an idea. I'm looking forward to meeting Mr. Diaz...alive.) But my mystery writer's mind was already spinning the plot. A Pulitzer Prize winning author is murdered during his book tour. But as we mystery writer's know, the killing only gets the story started. Now we have to fill in the who and the why. Plus we get to revel in the gruesome details like ligature marks, bullet entry and exit wounds, blood spatter, DNA evidence, and autopsies.

I had mentioned in the meeting that as a personal project I read a genre novel and a literary novel back-to-back to compare structure, pacing, and language.  One of the other writers said she doesn't like to read mystery novels because once she starts, she gets hooked and can't put the book down to the detriment of her writing and other chores. A literary novel is a read that she can graze on at her leisure.

I suppose leisure has its place except when it comes to murder.

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

I like to vary my reading among different types of books. But there's something about a good mystery!