WHO came up with that name? SO similar to BOG and LOG and BLOB and GLOB and…but never mind, Doug just informed me the term’s derived from Web Log. The parent term’s not ugly, is it? But anyway, here’s my initial attempt. Four-score and (nearly) two and only now addressing my very first. I’ve read (at) a few, but the writers seemed to be very full of themselves and I find that off-putting. Will you let me know if I go there?
Ok, I’m a writer. So are many of you who read this—either actively pursuing the craft (art?) or thinking about it. I read somewhere recently that 700,000 books were published in 2012 right here in the U.S. That’s including masses of material self-published and totaling a lot of competition. Too much? Not if you write well. Many do not.
I love mysteries and read a lot of them. Not because I enjoy figuring out “whodunnit”—I’m not above flipping to the end in order to make sure that one or two favored characters in the work survive and are ready to live Happily Ever After. No, I read mysteries for their plot. Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, certainly John Lescroart, Harlan Coben, even James Patterson and David Baldacci—mmm, plot!
For more than two years, I’ve been working from time to time at a mystery which, alas, seems to be doomed. Set in a great place I know well enough to recreate (southern Nepal, northern India), a landscape of silence cut by strange sounds, of death threat from unexpected quarters, of stunning beauty and dark mystery—hoo boy! And my people in the book are memorable, each different, each with his and her own purpose for being here at Gaida Lodge this November after the floods are past.
But it’s those very people who are my downfall, the reason my mystery effort stagnates. I get attached to them, you see. Not ONE of my characters am I going to allow to be murdered; and of course none of them is evil enough to do The Deed. So I introduce another couple of characters, weave them into the book structure, get to know them and care about them, too.
But huh-UH! Neither of these could possibly be a murderer—and certainly not murderable. All right, bring in another couple of people….
No. I’m not going to tell you how many characters are presently in my mystery. Too embarrassing. A bunch have gotta go. It’s a small lodge, there in the Terai Strip of dense trees and many Rhesus monkeys and hugely armored rhinos. And tigers.
My last couple of books are anthologies of narrative nonfiction where I let life do the plotting. Ha!
Kassehlelia! (That’s Pohnpeian for “Aloha”)