Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don't tell her relatives what she does



Here's one of the funniest writers in the business.  She's sometimes called the Canadian Evanovich.  And killing people is what she does best.


Author Melodie Campbell




KILLING PEOPLE IS WHAT I DO
By Melodie Campbell
“Why would you ever want to write about murder?” said the horrified relative.  “Why not write a nice little romance?”
Why indeed?
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.
1.        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.

2.       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.

3.       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.

4.       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.

5.       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.  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)
A PURSE TO DIE FOR
By Melodie Campbell and Cynthia St-Pierre

What’s more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer sale?
Stalking a killer…
Top 100 Mystery, Amazon.com, Jan. 2013!
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16 comments:

  1. I agree that murder mysteries are fun! Trying to figure out the puzzle ahead of the main character is a wonderful challenge. And mysteries can mete out justice where, in real life, there is often little or none.

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    1. That's a savvy comment about justice, Cathy. Maybe that is why we find them satisfying to create. We, as authors, are the judge and jury.

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  2. None of my relatives have asked me if they're tagged as future victims in my series. I think they're afraid of the answer

    I love the puzzle aspect of a murder mystery, and matching wits with killer and sleuth alike!

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    1. Laff! We much have the same relatives, Susan. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Melodie, remind me to stay on your good side. But if anybody wanted to "write me off," I'd want it to be you. I'd die laughing.

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    1. John, you are a prince! Definitely worth keeping alive :) Thank you.

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  4. You're absolutely right, Leslie. Melodie is hilarious! And, she's honest because it can be very satisfying to kill someone in a novel who represents a person in real life who has "done you wrong." You might say it's a form of poetic justice.

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    1. Thanks for those kind words, Patricia! And I love your comment about poetic justice. I wrote a murder poem once. Now where is it...

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  5. I'm going to be on the lookout for co-workers getting murdered. Although you'll have to be careful. I might murder back. ;)

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    1. Maybe board members, Alison, but never co-workers ;)

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  6. Now, you see, I hate murdering my characters so I usually kill them off before I have a chance to get fond of them. I never thought of relatives, or friends. Melodie, you've opened up a whole new pool of victims for me. Thanks!

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  7. I *never* murder my friends, Gloria! But relatives... :)

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  8. So glad you could be my guest, Melodie. Your writing is truly an inspiration and fun, too. Most of relatives are dead (not my doing!), so they are fair game for becoming characters in my work where they may get killed or not. I just love mining my family members for story ideas.

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    1. Lesley, it was a pleasure to be on here. Thanks for inviting me!

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  9. I usually kill off an appealing person because I think it makes the murder more terrible and important. But I do put characters in my books that have the least appealing characteristics of relatives and acquaintances. Melodie, I don't call it revenge. I call it a safe way to relieve tension.
    JL Greger, author of Ignore the Pain

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    1. Laff! I will remember that, Janet - "safe way to relieve tension." Thanks for commenting!

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