When writing a murder mystery, you have to put your characters through some scary, sometimes horrible, stuff, and you have to kill some of them off. This can be tougher than expected once you get to know your characters and care about them. A few books ago, I had planned to dispose of a character and wrote toward this end. The problem was that I grew to really like the potential victim didn't have the heart to kill them off. So I killed off someone else instead. The plot stagnated. I couldn't get it going until I rewrote the scene and did in the intended character.
A recent review on Amazon from a reader:"At times I was so scared for some of the characters that I could barely stand my
anxiety. What an amazing author who knows how to get you on the edge of your
seat and leave you there for a long time - not with gore and graphic details,
but by making you understand and care about the characters so much and giving
you a plausible and fascinating plot."
The hard part is to make readers care about the characters - to become engaged in their lives and care what happens to them. To my mind, this is the key to any novel, whether mystery or science fiction or literary. And it all begins with the author caring about the fictional people they are creating and needing some therapy while arranging their funerals. Here is another review out this week from an American reviewer.
On the publicity horizon, I have a quiet week this week but two events on the week following. On the evening of April 22, I'll be going to Carp to talk about writing with fellow author Mike Stewart. Our visits are being organized by a grade ten student who wants to promote literacy. Then, I'll be part of the Arthur Ellis shortlist event at Thurs., April 23, 7-9 p.m. at Chapters Rideau, 47 Rideau Street, Ottawa. Authors will be interviewing each other for a few minutes each so I have to come up with a couple of questions for Mike Martin and he for me. Other authors include Barb Fradkin, Mary Jane Maffini, Vicki Delany, Linda Wiken and R.J. Harlick. All are welcome so plan to pop by if you're up for an entertaining evening. Similar events will be taking place across the country at the same time.
This weekend looms open and obligation-free. I've reviewed the first 42,000 words of my latest manuscript and am making some adjustments. Writing is starting to come together so I'm eager to get at it today and tomorrow. I now have a September deadline for this one so figure I have to hit 10,000 words a month to finish in time. I might have to buy some manacles to attach my legs to the chair, but I should know by end of May if this will be necessary. The only fly in my ointment is the warm weather anticipated for tomorrow, which will be blowing in with full sunshine. I see a verandah and glass of wine in my near future.