"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I do know.

Before I begin, I need to give you my Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gift spiel:

Visit my Amazon page to get the right book in the perfect format for you!

Back to business: this post is a companion piece to something I wrote for my alternate universe, Crime Fiction Collective, about writing what you know. Go read that first. Here's the link. Go on. I'll wait here.

Now that I've told you all about how I write about what I don't know, I'm going to talk about the perils of writing about what I do know.

I'm putting Peri on the shelf briefly, and writing a new mystery with new characters. No, I don't know if it will become a series. Yes, Peri will be coming back.

Have I answered all your questions?

The thing is, this mystery will include one of my great loves - horses. While at a horse show in Burbank, I was walking up to the barn one morning when I saw the pile of used shavings at the end of the aisle and thought, what if there was a body under there?

And that's the way most mysteries are born. I decided that this would be easy. I know a lot about horses and horse shows and I have more than a couple of experts to answer any questions.

Now that I've started plotting and developing characters, I've discovered this will not be as easy as I believed. Knowing too much about a world might be more challenging than knowing too little. I need to write about the world so that horse lovers get enough horse stuff, but mystery lovers are not bogged down in too much horsefeathers.

Not only that, but as big as the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) is, it's a small community. Everyone seems to know everyone. I can't make any of my fictional characters resemble anyone real. Harder than it sounds, people.

Even the crime and its motivation must be handled with a special touch, since I'd hate for the AQHA to think that I think there are crooks and murderers around every corner.

I am nothing if not stubborn, so this book will get written. It will just have a HUGE disclaimer.

Me and Snoopy at the Del Mar National Horse Show

What about it, writers? Is it easier to write what you know or what you don't?

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