Just checking in to tell about my panic attack over writing a cozy mystery.
I was admiring the way that G.M. Malliet handles her characters in Death of a Cozy Mystery Writer. She chooses actions during a conversation that increase readers’ understanding of her characters.
I’d love to be like Jane Austen and have pages of dialogue without any description of what people are doing, but I am not a genius like Austen. That’s too bad because I am pretty doltish when it comes to weaving description into conversations. My choices tend to be mechanical. At least I have learned to avoid the “sipping of liquids” habit. That’s where an author gives her people something to drink and then works it to death, somewhat like below:
“Well, why did he have a bloody knife in his hand?”
Marian sipped her coffee to gain time. “Perhaps he was cooking dinner?”
“In the garage?” Bruce sipped his golden scotch and suddenly waved his drink dramatically. “In the garage?”
“Maybe they buy meat in bulk and keep it in the garage?” Raising the fragile cup to her lips, Marian sipped pensively at the hot brew.
“Wouldn’t it be frozen if they bought it in bulk? And why was he carrying a human head?” Grinning triumphantly, Bruce sipped his scotch.
So, thinking how I do not have the gift of good action choices – which led to general insecurity about my writing — I panicked about cozy mysteries.
Suddenly, I saw myself in the midst of a career: being interviewed, losing weight so I’d look good in author photos, buying new clothes and getting hairstyle for same, tweeting and facebooking and blogging and workshopping, going to conferences, meeting deadlines, trying to top my last great idea, while cooking, cleaning, laundering, cat petting, and figuring who is cluttering up my home at a slightly faster rate than I can declutter.
And I ran away. Ran from the project and this blog.
But now I’m back.
It’s one step at a time. The idea was to write a cozy to improve my plotting. There’s no need to project the troubles of a career – yet.
Website for G.M. Maillet: http://gmmalliet.weebly.com/
Link for one source to buy the book, Death of a Cozy Mystery Writer: