Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Well, I was wrong about Buttons and Bones. The problem wasn’t as simple as needing more information about what a body and its clothing might look like after sixty-odd years in a root cellar. What the book lacked was passion. Somebody needed desperately to know the solution to the rather clever puzzle I’ve dreamed up.

How did I come to realize this? Well, when I find myself up against a brick wall and needing distraction or inspiration or some kind of get-away, I turn to old favorite novels, and this time I got out Busman’s Holiday by Dorothy Sayers. Wow, every single character in that novel was passionate about the situation. It practically glows in the dark. The two main characters, Lord Peter Wimsey and his new wife, Harriet, face the problems every newly wed couple face, but a new one as well: he gets all passionate about sleuthing, which makes him miserable at times, and she has the power to call him off. Should she? Will she? She loves his desperately, she hates to see him unhappy. But he is passionate about sleuthing.

I went from reading that story to the suddenly-flat-looking plot of my own as if seeing it for the first time.

It took a day or two of consideration, and a consultation with my agent, editor, and special partner in plotting to come up with a fresh angle. Now I’m excited about writing my novel, and it has inspired me to think more deeply about the affair I’m just starting between my sleuth and her impending new love.

Of course, there’s a complication: I’m flying out tomorrow to Washington, DC, for a mystery convention called Malice Domestic. I won’t have time to do much plotting or writing while there, and I’m hoping things don’t get stale while they wait for my undivided attention.
I recommend Malice Domestic, by the way. A very comfortable, enjoyable, exciting convention for fans of the traditional or cozy mystery novel.

My eyes continue to heal, though they still are not quite back to the vision levels I had before surgery. Annoying.


Feeding the Grey Cells said...

Oh Monica, can't wait to see the new novel. I am soooo jealous that you are going to go to Malice. I would love to go, but alas I know I won't fit in your pocket.

Terri Thayer said...

Great to find the passion. I think Malice will only add to it! See you there.

Kathryn Lilley said...

I never gave much thought to the size of cats until we became adoptee owners of a Siamese cat that belongs to a friend of our daughter whose life is in flux (don't know if the kitty will become permanently ours, or not!). This cat is so large that my husband calls her the "Kangeroo." When she stretches out, she seems to take up half the bed. She dwarfs our male cat, and has given him quite an inferiority complex. Larger cats are actually much more intimidating than small ones. I can project that with about another 30-40 pounds, we'd have a cougar in the house, lol. But she's very sweet, and I love her! I'm a total cat person. If I lived alone, I'd be one of those crazy cat ladies with 15 felines.