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My Aha moment . . .

Did you ever start a project, only to discover halfway through that you didn't know what you were doing? Think putting together a new piece of furniture, or trying to install a dimmer switch or that new shower head. You get to that certain point where you realize you should have read those directions a little more closely, or should have called someone. You remember saying to yourself...or someone else: "Oh, this will be nothing...I can have it done in "x" amount of time (fill in the blank)".

It happens to us all. It's happened to me many times, but it really hit me last week when I realized this mystery I've been working on for the last year or so, wasn't really about what I thought it was. I am writing about a corrupt group of firefighters and I thought I was writing about fires. I had read quite a bit about arsonists, firefighting, and fire investigators. Mind you I just finished the fourth edit of this novel when I realized that I wasn't writing about fires or the investigation of such, but rather the people involved. My main characters are detectives who become involved with these arsonists, but they are not investigating fires! What to do?

At the same time, as I mentioned last month, I've been working on learning how to produce an audiobook, which led me to those who work with their voices, both in singing and narration. This led me to vocal exercises, which led me to Julie Andrews rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein's: "Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start...when you read, you begin with ABC, when you sing, you begin with Do, Re, Mi...", which led me to thinking how some of my favorite writers write.

Anyone who thinks about writing has been told somewhere along the line that the best thing to do is to read, read, and read more. Good advice, but there is also "how" one reads. My "Aha" told me it was time to go back and read those favorite writers not just for the stories I had enjoyed, but to figure out how they had done it. Much of what a detective relies on is really their ability to "read" people. The forensics in modern mysteries is certainly interesting, but the real talent of the detectives is what it has always been for the lead actors in mysteries: what are they able to see that others cannot?


Because I'm going back to some authors you probably know, I'll leave you with two recent books I've been listening to---one well known, and one new to me:

The Little Liar by Mitch Albom (2023)---well known for his Tuesdays with Morrie, which I had not read, but for which I had seen the author interviewed. This was a beautiful story of a Greek family during WWII and the Holocaust. It's the story of four main characters narrated by a character calling himself Truth. The story of each is cleverly entwined with the stories of the others and it held my attention throughout.

Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth (2012). This is not a book I would have been likely to choose, but I live in Collier County and it is about Naples in the 50s and 60s---a very different place from the present. If you enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry, this is a book you will also enjoy. A colorful blend of characters dealing with all the prejudices you might imagine for that period, but laced with all the humor of a northerner attempting to live in the South.


HAPPY 4th of JULY !

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