“On the face of it, you wouldn’t think there was any connection between the murder of a dead man and the events that changed my perceptions about my life.” – Sue Grafton’s “J” is for Judgment
In a short twenty-nine words Grafton defines the character, foreshadows the story itself and the plotline. All great.
And then it quickly descends into genre tropes. This is not a bad thing in general and I’m sure there are people who love genre tropes.
Me, not so much. I like my genres with a bit more literary flare and a bit less trope
Ever read a story and say to yourself, “Wow! That’s how it’s done!”?
I get exhilarated when I discover a new author.
Let me clarify. There are lots of people out there writing books. In my opinion, few of them are worth reading (I’m a writing snob. There, I’ve said it).
But once in a great while I encounter some writing that so pulls me into its story, calls me into the story’s mythos so completely that my pulse quickens, my eyes open wider, my breaths deepen, … When readers have a physiologic reaction to your writing, you’ve arrived.
No, actually I can because I revision everything – four.
Some of those early versions…a beautiful demonstration of not knowing what to write about. There were lots of ways to go at it. Do I write about my many years teaching hand-to-hand mixmaster beef loin braising techniques at the Academie du HaHa in Paranormal, France?
Probably too graphic for most readers. No.
Instead I went with how to write a combat scene such that the reader believes it.
Psychologists and philosophers debate “horror” as a concept. Authors have it much easier. They want to give readers chills. They want to make readers nervous. Uncomfortable. They want readers to turn on all the lights, to check locks on the doors, to tuck their feet up under themselves so nothing can grab them from below, to check under the bed before getting under the covers, to look in their closets, to look at their loved ones suspiciously.