I just was informed that November is national novel-writing month.
after the obvious questions of:
- which nation(s)?
- Does everyone in that nation have to write?
- Does the novel have to be started and finished in November?
brought me to the more subtle question of:
Is there some magical code that says it has to be November?
Why not December-
when you can write about a murder under the Christmas tree with all the loonies from the family there.
when you can write about someone killing for the insurance to pay the bills for December.
when the family humiliates you because you can’t bring a date to cousin Carol’s Valentine theme wedding-
“wear lots of red and bring lots of hearts, y’all.”
so you decide to kill off aunt Dotty, who spends all her time making remarks like this, so you can hire a gigolo and take him along to impress everyone.
Actually already done by the great novelist Dorothy Cannell
March you could write about murdering someone by McGyvering a kite they are flying.
April a poisoned Easter Egg contest- one touch of a decorated Easter egg,
and the judge joins the great bunny.
You get the picture.
Anything but November.
Where about the only thing to write about is turkey rage,
or a killing in the family brought together to celebrate Thanksgiving
and remember the October planting of poor old uncle Ernie,
who was suddenly,
in an accident with one of those electric vibrating beds in a hotel
right after downing a bucket of sangrias with a bevy of off duty Vegas show girls.
Oh, and then there is an absolutely fabulous idea for a novel that came out of a writer’s discussion I attended on the locked room murder:
acrobat and tightrope artist in a circus,
then carries the body across a tightrope to the house where the person lives alone,
locks the door,
and disappears back across the wire,
leaving no footprints in the new snow.
And if you think I am joking,
read a few essays about the writing of murder mysteries.
(I once shocked a doctor friend to death by asking if it is true that the heart is behind two specific ribs.
I won’t mention which ones by number, since it might give someone ideas,
which is probably why it stopped all conversation that night.)
And also probably why, when I asked a friend who is a pathologist-
actually we have two among our friends-
pathologists have a tendency to sing.
And very very well.
what poison I could use,
he mentioned curare.
as did the university pathologist,
my policeman friend,
and every other policeman (three in my choirs)
they like to sing too.
(Actually, there is a handbook on poisons for mystery writers-
by a nurse who also writes, and very well.)
Sorry, but you’ll have to find it yourself.
Ever since that case where a Seattle crime writer well and truly,
in all reality,
did in hubby,
and was caught in less than four hours by the local police,
I’ve been edgy about the possibility of inadvertently helping wackos
do something for real,
that us just-for-fun semi-wackos
do only on paper.
And even more so since I started reading professional “how-to” literature for romance writers.
Ps. in a recent study, crime writers are far less likely to kill a spider than their counterparts in other occupations.
Just something to think about.
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