Category Archives: mystery

My Most Singular Venture

If I’ve been absent from the internet, or only minimally present, this last few weeks, I’ve had good reason. I embarked on a brand new venture, you see – in fact, “A Most Singular Venture,” which just happens to be the title of a wonderful new novel in the Elizabeth and Richard Literary Mysteries Series by Donna Fletcher Crow.

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As you’ll see from the cover, Elizabeth and Richard (a couple now pleasingly approaching my own age) are in London as this story begins. Elizabeth is researching locations visited by that well-known classical author, Jane Austen, while Richard is about to start teaching a summer class on Golden Age mystery authors. It’s a great combination, with tasks, characters and mysteries all dove-tailing into a plot that pulls the reader along: Explore London, learn literature, and look for a murderer, all within the covers of a single, enticing book.

But where do I fit in? And how did this singular venture keep me from the internet? Well… that’s where my own most singular and delightful venture starts, with author Donna Fletcher Crow inviting me to reawaken my editing dreams after reading my review an earlier novel in the series:

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How could I resist? I didn’t even try. The chance to read Elizabeth and Richard’s latest adventure before anyone else? The chance to get to know one of my favorite authors better? And, yes, the chance to call myself an editor again… I spread those wings with eager delight and had a most wonderful time.

Watch out for A Most Singular Venture, coming later this year to a bookstore near you. And get ready for the adventure with a thoroughly enjoyable Jane Austen Encounter. Then spread your writing wings and feather your quill for a writing exercise:

Get Ready

  1. Think of a famous person and a place that person is connected with.
  2. Think of reasons why a group of people might visit that place?

Get Set

Make a list of ways you can connect their visit with the person

  1. Do they go to sites your famous person frequented?
  2. Do they get involved in the same sort of business?
  3. Or perhaps they see a ghost?
  4. travel in time?
  5. read a book?
  6. endure the same problems?
  7. etc.

Now Write

A story, a paragraph, an essay, or even a novel… whatever you have time for. Enjoy!

 

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Publishing is Murder!

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/):

The Writers' Mill Journal Volume 4
The Writers’ Mill Journal Volume 4

Meanwhile, how about those murders… Here’s a writing exercise for our next Writers’ Mill meeting, and for you:

First Think

  1. What do you think of when somebody says “Murder”?
    1. Clue – Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick?
    2. TV cop show – CSI Miami?
    3. Recent events and shootings – gun control?
    4. Old movies – Arsenic and Old Lace?
    5. Self-publishing
    6. What else?
  2. A murder story doesn’t have to be a mystery. What else can it be?
    1. Horror
    2. Psychological thriller
    3. Humor
    4. What else?
  3. The type of story might determine the point of view
    1. Whose head do you need to be inside for horror to scare you?
    2. Whose head do you need to be inside to get involved in solving a mystery?
    3. Whose head will you be in to understand the murderer’s mind?
    4. Whose head to not take it seriously?

Then Try

  1. You’re going to write three one-paragraph mini-murder stories, but first we’ll do the Clue thing:
    1. Where might a murder take place?
    2. Who might commit a murder?
    3. Who might get killed? (or what, I suppose)
    4. Who might try to solve the crime?
  2. Pick a location, a murderer, a victim and an optional investigator or bystander.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  3. Read your three paragraphs
    1. How did the scene change as you looked through different eyes?
    2. Which version was harder to write?
    3. Which point of view will you choose to write the longer story?

Now Write