NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Monday, January 11, 2016

GREAT ESCAPES


 

 

 GREAT ESCAPES

         


During our last meeting, one of my critique partners said something that’s been resonating in my mind ever since:  “I used to read for escape,” he said, “but now I write for escape.”

            This insight stuck with me because I’ve had much the same thought—and more than once.  When you write, you create a whole new world, with new people, new places, new happenings, all of which you control and willingly enter.  It’s your own special place where everything goes accord to your plan—except for one inconvenient fact.  The characters often have minds of their own and take turns and detours you never anticipated.  That might seem to contradict the idea that writing is escape, but on further thought, it doesn’t.  Not knowing what happens next is part of the Big Escape.

Case in point:  When I began The Design is Murder, #5 in my Murders by Design Series, I had no inkling that a little five pound dog named Charlotte (that's her below) would become a major player in the story, but she did. 


Charlotte even helped nab the killer.  In fact, she was so delightful, I couldn’t bring myself to have her spayed, never mind bump her off.  So as she came more and more involved in the plot, her antics provided a welcome diversion.

            And then there was boorish Stew Hawkins (that is not him above!).  No manners, no couth, he bought a trophy wife who three weeks later ended up dead.  Yet halfway through the book, I started thinking, “You know, I’d go out with this guy.”  Who’d have guessed that?  Not DH.  Not even moi.  The thing is Stew was so outrageous, so over-the-top that the more I wrote about him, the more he drew me into his life.  And the more I fled, however temporarily into his world, the more the problems of the real world faded.

            As for reading to break away from the everyday—which most of us do as well--here’s a radical view by memoirist Mary Kaer.  In The Week Magazine, she’s quoted as saying.  Reading is socially accepted disassociation.  You flip a switch and you’re not there anymore.  It’s better than heroin.” 

Hmm.  I wonder which drug Ms. Kaer would compare writing to?  I refuse to say Viagra.

 

How about you?  Have you ever experienced writing as escape?  If so, when in the story did the realization strike?

 

Jean Harrington is the author of the award-winning Murders by Design Series available on Amazon.  Link is: http://www.amazon.com/Rooms-Die-For-Murders-Design-ebook/dp/B00F942VL8

 


6 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

I find both writing and reading to be fabulous escapes. In fact, when the writing became too much like work this past year, I knew I needed to take a step back. The story is so much better when it feels like an escape. And I do love when the characters surprise me! :D

jean harrington said...

Yes, those surprises are wonderful. The characters, as it turns out, do have minds of their own. So it's fun--and sometimes exasperating--to see what they're up to.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Good post, Jean. Yes, writing is escapism. When it fails, I walk away for a while, like Anne Marie (happy birthday, Anne Marie!) because, really, if it isn't fun, why do it? Distance and time always refill the the well.

jean harrington said...

Marcelle, I wish I could agree that writing is fun. For me, sometimes the fun is there, big time, and then there are days when the fun disappears and every sentence seems like hard work. But in both instances, the game is still exciting and still carries me off to that special world.

Rita said...

Oh! Yes! A thousand times yes. I can escape into a made up world and make events turn out how I want them. What can be better than that?

jean harrington said...

Rita, I know. It's addictive.

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