Saturday, May 07, 2011

Looking for Something Interesting to Say

We at Type M are bereft by the departure of our Founding Mother, Vicki Delany, though she promises to drop in once in a while and let us know what she's up to. Which by the way, get thee hither right away and obtain a copy of her latest Molly Smith novel, Among the Departed. It's quite wonderful.

Vicki, Charles Benoit, and Rick Blecta started this blog together five years ago. Charles has moved on, and now Vicki, leaving only Rick to wrangle the rest of us relative newcomers and be our guiding light. Vicki told us that she feared after blogging every week for so many years, she was running out of things to say.
Which instantly put me in mind of an essay which John Updike wrote shortly before he died. He said that after a long career as a novelist he felt as though everything he wrote was just a rehash of something he had written before.

I suspect all writers feel this eventually. One always wants to be relevant and interesting. Not just to reader, but to oneself, as well! You can bore yourself silly trying to come up with something original to say about writing and the writing life week after week after week until the end of time. My friend and fellow mystery author Larry Karp (left) recently gave me the answer to this dilemma. (I paraphrase) "I've enjoyed writing my blog a lot more since I decided to write whatever the hell I want." This is my mantra, though I think readers who have followed my entries for any length of time figured that out a while ago.

On that note, I'll mention that I saw Julia Spencer-Fleming at Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale last week. That's her to the right, along with the lovely Lesa Holstine, at the store. I had met Julia briefly several years ago, but this was the first time I'd ever seen her speak. She's really entertaining. I liked her new book, One Was A Soldier, a mystery that revolves around the problems of returning war veterans. She always gets her characters into a lot of trouble and leaves them there for a while, a trait I admire in any author of a mystery series. Many writers don't have the guts to torment their series regulars, but the truth is that things don't always turn out well in real life. A novelist who's brave enough to do what needs to be done to serve the story often ends up with a superior piece of writing.

Since I'm writing whatever the hell I want, I'll tell you that the last time I saw Julia in person was at Bouchercon in Alaska in 2007. At the time, Julia's hair was a lot redder, and I was quite a bit blonder (note blonder me with Karp, above). One of the speakers at that conference was the newly elected governor, Sarah Palin. I had never heard of her, but I thought she was very pretty. And that's all I'll say about that.

1 comment:

Chris Eboch said...

I went in a different direction with blogging. I didn't start until I had a specific focus. I didn't want to blog about personal things, pets, gardening, cooking, or whatever, so I figured out what I have to offer as an author. Since I have years of experience with teaching writing workshops, doing critiques, and writing articles on writing, I figured it made sense to focus my blog on craft advice. (Plus I could use material from my workshop notes and articles.)

Lately I've been inviting blog followers to submit the first pages of their manuscripts for a free critique. This keeps the craft focus but with a twist, and I don't have to come up with new ideas for a while.

I do think a focus helps, because you want followers to know what they're going to get. Blogging about anything related to mystery books, writing, or the mystery community, still works as a focus and gives you a lot of variety.