If I’ve fallen off the face of the internet recently, I have a good excuse. Our local writers’ group, The Writers’ Mill, committed to self-publishing our fourth anthology in time for Christmas 2015, and time sped by. Suddenly I was fifteen books behind with reading and reviewing, three behind with writing, and deeply entrenched in editing, formatting and publishing one solitary volume. But now, at last, I can raise my head above the metaphorical quick-sand. Our next writers’ contest has the theme of murder, and I’m thinking it won’t be half as murderous as this.
In case you’re interested, our anthology, The Writers’ Mill Journal Volume 4, is now available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Mill-Journal-2015-Journals/dp/1517594472/) and all good bookstores (and from Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Mill-Journal-Journals-Book-ebook/dp/B016C98RI4/):
Meanwhile, how about those murders… Here’s a writing exercise for our next Writers’ Mill meeting, and for you:
- What do you think of when somebody says “Murder”?
- Clue – Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick?
- TV cop show – CSI Miami?
- Recent events and shootings – gun control?
- Old movies – Arsenic and Old Lace?
- What else?
- A murder story doesn’t have to be a mystery. What else can it be?
- Psychological thriller
- What else?
- The type of story might determine the point of view
- Whose head do you need to be inside for horror to scare you?
- Whose head do you need to be inside to get involved in solving a mystery?
- Whose head will you be in to understand the murderer’s mind?
- Whose head to not take it seriously?
- You’re going to write three one-paragraph mini-murder stories, but first we’ll do the Clue thing:
- Where might a murder take place?
- Who might commit a murder?
- Who might get killed? (or what, I suppose)
- Who might try to solve the crime?
- Pick a location, a murderer, a victim and an optional investigator or bystander.
- Write one paragraph describing the murder scene after the event. This might be through the eyes of an investigator or passer-by, or just describe from an omniscient point of view.
- Describe the same scene in one paragraph through the eyes of the killer. This can be before, after or even during the event – depends how gruesome you want to be.
- Describe the same scene in one paragraph through the eyes of the victim. This can be before or during the event… or if you want to deal in ghosts or inanimate objects, describe the scene after the event.
- Read your three paragraphs
- How did the scene change as you looked through different eyes?
- Which version was harder to write?
- Which point of view will you choose to write the longer story?