Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Land of the Brave

Don't quote me on this but I believe that every writer has that sub-genre (or genre in full) that they want to write in. For one reason or another though, they don't. Maybe because its a risk.

Because that's the big deal and I think the attraction of it all: risk. You risk your name with each story you put out. Not to say that one bad story will destroy your credibility as a reliable storyteller. But going outside the lines is sometimes a little daunting. One of the pleasures of writing GLBTQ fiction is that there are so many wide open areas to wander through.

With respect, obviously.

But believe it or not, I'm not here to discuss the varied ways to write about the GLBTQ community (another post, another day). I'm actually going to talk about mysteries and why I really want to write one (and why I haven't yet).

My biggest thing with mysteries is figuring it out. I'm constantly impressed by folks like Josh Lanyon who put together these intricate plots, lush with clues and actual investigating. I enjoy JD Robb's In Death series as well and despite the fact that the villians have much of the same personality flaws behind their murder, it's still awesome watching Eve and Roarke figure out whodunnit.

Naked in Death, the first book, still awes me. The Adrien English series (which is over, omgosh, and I still need to get DOAPK and Dark Tide! Eee!) is a full melee of detective work. James Buchanan's Taking the Odds series is stuffed with cops doing their cop thing and doing it well.

Cops, I might never be able to do as anything but side characters and I can accept that. But I want a mystery, y'all. I've just got to figure out the whys and whats and hows behind it. The clues that lead to this, making you backtrack to that and jump to that waaaaayyy over there! But here's where the risk comes in.

I'm not a mystery writer. I'm excellent (and this isn't tooting my own horn, this is a fact I've learned) at contemporary romance. The simplicity yet complex mayhem of a relationship - be it same sex or not - makes a kind of lyrical sense to me. This is what I know how to put together, from the first meeting to the second to the sex to the fight to the HFN.

Mysteries baffle me. Yet, I want to do it. That's my super secret desire. I took the first tentative step (of sorts) with Lost. However, you knew from the beginning what that one was about and it was more about the relationship. As a romance author, I will always center more on the people than the external plot. Love's about the lovers not the circumstances. The circumstances affect them though and that's what makes the rest of the story.

I haven't written a full mystery yet because I'm not sure how. I've figured by now that it's a process that I'll just have to start. One bad story isn't going to mess me up but hovering and fretting about what if it sucks like hell? will definitely keep me from learning anything. If I love it, I should try it. And maybe it will suck. Horribly. Then I'm sure y'all will tell me.

In a way, the latest kick in the ass about this is K.A. Mitchell. On Twitter ( I think it was on Twitter, possibly LJ) she mentioned that mysteries aren't her usual style. The mystery story (Chasing Smoke - LOVE that book, btw) is a definite departure from say, Collision Course. But she wanted to do it, she did it and you know what? I envy that. I mean, she even did a historical (An Improper Holiday)!

It's all about risk. But then, taking chances is what creativity is all about. So I'm going to take a chance and go back to my WiP and...well, I can't give everything away, now can I?


Maia Strong said...

Yay you, Zoe! I, too, would love to write a mystery, but I just don't feel like I have the skills yet. A friend, for her first NaNoWriMo last year, wrote a mystery, and I'm dead jealous (and can't wait to read it). I wish you luck and success!

Zoe Nichols said...

Thanks Maia! I'll need it :D

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