Mystery Writer Musings

The mind of a mystery writer can be a scary thing. Take, for example, this pit.


This past weekend, we had a very, very, very old in-ground pool pulled out of our backyard. This pool dates back decades before we bought the place. The liner alone was at least 25 years old. So…

imagine where the mind of a mystery writer goes as the little skid steerer yanks out the side walls. For all I know, bones could tumble from the backfill, along with the sand; a dead body could float up from the miry bottom. <shudder>

If that wasn’t bad enough, the latent-mafia side of my mind is thinking, hmm, good place to get rid of some bodies before this gets filled in.

Where do you advertise that kind of service? On Kijiji?

Yup, I warned you it was scary where my mind goes. I’m thinking that I definitely need a vacation. A romantic vacation to nurture the romance side of my novel-plotting mind.

That way I won’t have to know what gets buried under the two or three dump truckloads of dirt. 😕

Your Turn: What did you do this past weekend? 😎

How to Make Characters Mind without Losing Yours

Last week, I noticed a book in my daughter’s diaper bag titled “How to Make your Children Mind without Losing Yours.” Oh, I remember that book well from the days that very same daughter challenged every request we made.

Now… my characters are acting up!

They simply won’t do anything I ask.

They have minds of their own, utterly oblivious to the fact that I created them!!

And I thought making children mind was a challenge!

But seeing that book in my daughter’s diaper bag reminded me of the key lesson that I never forgot from reading it. That was to let your children experience the consequences of their choices.

“So, dear character,” I said, “if that’s really the road you want to go down, guess what? You can live with the consequences.”

And they will be bad. Very bad. ~hee, hee, hee~

Yes, as oftentimes happens with children, characters need to learn their lessons the hard way. The harder the better for the reader. Wouldn’t you say?

So I threw out my neat little story outline, and put my characters on the therapist’s couch and had a serious heart-to-heart with each and everyone of them. Wow, was I surprised.

In some cases, the emotional baggage that I thought was driving their inner conflict wasn’t it at all! I had one character who wasn’t even who I thought he was!!

Needless to say, the weekend turned out to be quite an adventure as I caught up on all the writing I hadn’t been able to do while I’d been steadfastly trying to fit my characters into the mold I’d hatched them from. Now I understand why writers who write by the seat-of-their-pants enjoy it so much.

Every day is an adventure as you wait to see what happens next.

Of course… I have an eerie feeling that I’ll start losing my mind again during the editing phase, but why worry about tomorrow when today has enough trouble of its own?

Your Turn: What lessons have you learned from having to face the consequences of your actions? Or what lessons have your children learned that way?

P.S. Did you catch the book title on the book my grand daughter is reading in the photo? And Then I Had Kids

P.S.S. For any writers in the group, click the link for more detailed posts featuring writing tips and articles on the craft of writing


Have you noticed that every January an epidemic of posts about how to organize your life and manage your time populates blogs?
I blame calendars.

How can we resist the urge to plan better when faced with a pristine new calendar filled with panoramas of places we’d love to visit, or with scrumptious images of dishes we’d love to try, or adorable pictures that make us smile every time we look at them?

These days…I use calendars for another reason—to plot my characters’ actions.

After all, as much as many of us would appreciate an eight-day week or an early Friday now and again, a writer can only take fiction so far.
By fitting the scenes of my book into corresponding days on a calendar, I ensure I don’t have a dreaded eight-day week or a Friday two days after a Monday.  
Meticulous historical authors working with specific dates will go as far as to note the times of the full moons and new moons, sunrises and sunsets, high tides and low tides. I merely ensure I don’t have two full moons in the same month, although I pay special attention to those sunset times!

The current book I’m plotting features a heroine who is helping her folks with their flower shop, so I’m on the lookout for a floral calendar that will give me added inspiration.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite kind of calendar? Do you use calendars in less-than-usual ways?