Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Things We Crafters Do...To Write Mysteries

This morning I attended the most excellent Killer Hobbies panel. I was in the audience as my blog sisters talked about the joys,intricacies and perils of writing about crafts.

Moderator Carolyn Mulford introduced the group by making wonderful observations about the finer points of craft mysteries. One striking thought was that this was "Boomer Lit" or literature for Baby Boomers. (That's right! Our audience tends to be 45+ and female.) So it's no surprise that all of us Killer Hobbies bloggers/authors have chosen to write about female protagonists.

Our mysteries not only involve crafters, but also focus on an "ensemble," the secondary characters or minor characters who support/work with/live with/craft with our amateur sleuths. To keep the books lively and the action moving, the sleuths must interact with these secondary characters. As an author, I have to balance the time I spend on my main character and the attention I devote to her pals. Plus, I have to give my character opportunity to practice her craft!

Carolyn noticed that our heroines are always unarmed! I found myself blinking and thinking, "Gee, that's so true." I can tell you this adds a new layer of complexity for us writers. We can get our main characters into trouble but getting them out can be a bit tricky. An unwritten rule is that your protagonist must save herself. So, how do you do that when she's unarmed? (We have to be very creative with our tools, don't we?)

Every protagonist must have some sort of "in" with the police. Otherwise an amateur sleuth can't solve crimes. So...we have boyfriends, friends, friendly cops, and antagonistic relationships with law enforcement officials.

The panel was lively, interesting and thought provoking!

From here Terri Thayer and I are off to Festival of Mystery in Pennsylvania. I hope we'll see some of you there!

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