Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hobbies--Killer or Not

The other day, I was at a writers’ group meeting that was held in a bookstore. The initial speaker was an agent whose comments were addressed mostly to writers who were fairly new at finding and working with agents. Since I have an agent with whom I’m delighted, I didn’t pay as much attention as I otherwise might. Instead, my mind wandered to our environment--the part of the store where the books were on crafts, antiques and collectibles.

There were an amazing number of subjects! Crafts included everything from genealogy to journals to creating Christmas ornaments. Designing different kinds of jewelry. Lots of types of needlework and sewing, including making lace, knitting, crocheting, hooking (presumably involving needlework and not the cruder connotation of the word, which I suppose can be a hobby, too). Gardening. Papercrafts such as origami, collages, and, of course, scrapbooking.

Then there were the collectibles: old phonograph records. Model cars. Pottery. Toys such as Star Wars memorabilia and Transformers and Hot Wheels. Sporting stuff including trading cards and fishing lures. Traditional sorts such as coins and stamps and model trains. Hallmark keepsakes. Coca Cola memorabilia.

Each of these activities and more, were featured in books describing, extolling and advising about them as pastimes.

Now, there are definitely a lot of people in the world, and many of them have hobbies. It’s fun to think of how different we all are, yet we tend to gravitate toward others with similar interests.

I wonder how many of these varied hobbies have mysteries set in their special venues. Even if all of us, the Killer Hobbyists, took on a bunch of extra hobbies to set murders in (with really only a minimal amount possible, with our existing writing schedules), there would probably still be plenty out there for other mystery writers to leap into. And blog about!

Of course, I’m quite content with my usual subject: pets, as featured in my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series. And I’m especially content witih my own pet. My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lexie has been especially adorable lately, resting her head soulfully on my legs as I try to eat, ramping up her already intense begging mode.

So, as impressed as I was with that plethora of additional hobbies, I’ll leave them to others to evolve into mystery settings... at least for now.



Camille Minichino said...

Unlike you, Linda, I want to try them all! I've been "into" knitting, crocheting, beading, paper making, cardmaking (I know Tim Myers has this locked up), silk screening, drawing ... very dissipated, meaning I don't do any of them really well.
hmm ... I think I have another blog here.
Camille/Margaret Grace

Linda O. Johnston said...

Camille: One that I haven't seen anyone mention or write about, either fictionally or non, used to be my favorite before I took up doing crossword puzzles while watching TV (and that's already being done in mysteries!): rug hooking. Maybe one day I'll start it again. It was addictive!

Kathryn Lilley said...

I come from a long line of hobbyists and crafts-oriented people, but as I mentioned in a past blog, none of those hobbies "took" with me! Take cooking, for example. My idea of making dinner is something you can warm up in the microwave. However, I've been encouraging some budding writers in my critique groups to develop mysteries that are set in the milieus of their hobbies. Some of their hobbies are really interesting and I haven't seen them done before, so I'm excited to see what they eventually come up with!

Camille Minichino said...

Rug hooking -- I'm not sure what this is. Not the same as rag rugs I assume??

Lots of possibilities ... bodies under the rug!

Linda O. Johnston said...

That should be a kick, Kathryn. You'll have to keep us informed.
And, Camille, hooking a rug involves using a hook that resembles a crochet hook, and pre-cut pieces of yarn, to form a design on a flexible woven frame. Last time I designed one was when I lost my first Cavalier and had to do something special in his memory, so I hooked my own version of his picture onto a rug. Maybe that's why I haven't done one since...

Camille Minichino said...

Rug hooking sounds very hard. I might skip that one!