“Why would you ever want to write about murder?” said the horrified relative. “Why not write a nice little romance?”
As I quickly added another relative to kill in my next book (you would be shocked how often that happens….) it occurred to me that there were many reasons to write about murder.
~ It’s the challenge of creating the clever puzzle. Plotting a mystery is like playing a chess game. You always have to think several moves ahead. Your reader is begging you to challenge them, and is working to beat you – meaning to guess the killer before your detective does – to the end.
~ It’s plot driven. Murder mysteries start with action – a murder. Yes, characterization is important, and particularly motivation. But murder is by nature an action, and thus something happens in the book you are writing. And quite often, it happens again and again.
~ It’s important. This is murder, after all. We’re not talking about a simple threat or theft. A lot is at stake. Murder is the final act. The worst that can happen. The end of it all.
~ It’s a place to put all your darkest fantasies. There are a few people I’ve wanted to kill in my life. They did me wrong. And while I do have a bit of a reputation for recklessness, I value my freedom more. So what I can’t do in reality, I relish doing in fiction.
~ Finally – it’s fun. This is the part I don’t say in mixed company (meaning non-writers and relatives.) I can’t explain exactly why it’s fun – you’ll have to trust me on this part. But plotting to do away with characters in highly original ways is a real power trip. I’m smiling just thinking about it.
Of course, I can understand where some of the relative angst comes from. In A PURSE TO DIE FOR, a gathering of relatives for a funeral results in the death of one or two.
In THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE, a cousin of Gina’s does her wrong. So she does him back, in a particularly crafty and oh-so-satisfying way.
It was entirely accidental, that use of relatives. Honest. I wasn’t thinking of anyone in particular.
Not much I wasn’t.
(You can follow Melodie at www.melodiecampbell.com)
Opening to THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE (Orca Books)
Okay, I admit it. I would rather be the proud possessor of a rare gemstone than a lakefront condo with parking. Yes, I know this makes me weird. Young women today are supposed to crave the security of owning their own home
But I say this. Real estate, shmeel estate. You can’t hold an address in your hand. It doesn’t flash and sparkle with the intensity of a thousand night stars, or lure you away from the straight and narrow like a siren from some Greek odyssey.
Let’s face it. Nobody has ever gone to jail for smuggling a one bedroom plus den out of the country.
However, make that a 10-carat cyan blue topaz with a past as long as your arm, and I’d do almost anything to possess it.
But don’t tell the police.
Melodie Campbell got her start writing comedy. She has nine awards for fiction, over 200 publications and was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer, and both the 2012 and 2013 Arthur Ellis awards. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE http://tinyurl.com/kmgjgsf
THE GODDAUGHTER http://ow.ly/dnObH
A PURSE TO DIE FOR http://amzn.to/PysT2C