Monday, 29 August 2011

Saved by a quarter hour

It’s been a long hot, humid summer and the crisp fall air can’t come soon enough.

As one of those individuals who suffers in torrid atmospheric conditions – my brain turns to mush – I admit my resolve to finish to my writing project by the autumn has suffered tremendously: from ennui, sluggish holiday recovery, family crises, procrastination and laziness. Should I give it up? It certainly feels like it.

They say familiarity breeds contempt. I’ve been carrying a host of characters around in my head, trying to finish this MS for what seems like eons. Life keeps breaking out around me, throwing up challenges and problems, hassles and calamities. I’m getting a bit tired of these make-believe creatures. They clamor to set about and do things, make pronouncements and go off on tangents. And as prepared as I am to bow to their wishes, I’m supposed to be somewhere else - in real time - in fifteen minutes, or half an hour. And so they wait, impatient, and displaying characteristics I have not yet assigned to them.

What to do? Karen Blake-Hall, our fearless writing group leader, is a firm believer in the fifteen-minutes-a-day regime, especially if you’re on the run. But I write in chunks, I say. What on earth could I achieve in fifteen minutes?

Well, Karen, I’m a convert. You can achieve a lot in fifteen minutes. And the best accomplishment is regaining your momentum. It doesn’t take much. Fifteen stretches to a half hour; a half hour is suddenly an hour. And if tomorrow is busy?

Fifteen minutes will do. You stay in touch with your work. You quiet those characters for a bit and seize control once more.

Mired. Stuck. Blocked. Whatever it is, it seems to just take a nudge – fifteen minutes at a time. At least for now.

Bring on the cool air. My head needs clearing.

Killing is Murder

The coming theme of the National Crime Writing Month Blog is "50 Ways to Kill Your Lover".

At the risk of jumping the gun, committing murder on paper isn't as easy as it looks. Here are 7 ways NOT to kill your lover.

  1. Shoot your lover point blank - GSR is a bitch to get out of your clothes.
  2. Shoot your lover at a distance with a hand gun - unless you have practice, chances are you'll miss.
  3. Stab your lover through the heart - again, not as easy as it looks. You have to get past the ribs and actually find the heart.
  4. Stab your lover anywhere without making a mess. While inflicting a mortal wound isn't too difficult. It's much harder to stab without causing a long and noisy death.
  5. Bludgeon your lover anywhere without making a mess. It isn't just that blood splatter. It's the negative images where parts of your body gets in the way of the blood splatter. You can get rid of your clothes, but its hard to get rid of walls.
  6. Strangle, smother, or any other method that requires brute strength unless your murderer is very strong or your victim is very weak or incapacitated. (There's a reason women traditionally use poison except...)
  7. Drug overdose - if you want an instant death. Drugs and ingested poisons take time to work. They're also messy because the body tries to purge the toxins. I found a way around this in my next book, but first I had to be lectured by a medical friend of mine who read an early draft. (More about that when I write for the NCWM blog.)
Of course, any of these obstacles can be overcome which brings us to "How Real Investigation Don't Work Like CSI" - but that's another story.