Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Many Ways Have You Murdered Someone?

How's that for a title?

I've been thinking about the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery I'm going to write. Not the next one that's going to be published, that one's due out in September. And I've got another ready to send off. The victim in that one dies by gunshot wound. I've killed other victims with guns, no stabbing yet, but lots of poisonings--there are so many different ways to poison someone including beautiful flowers.

It takes me awhile to come up with exactly what I'm going to do in the Tempe mysteries--the murder victim(s)need to be someone who lives in the small town of Bear Creek or somewhere around, or on the reservation, and I like to weave some Indian mythology or legends in somehow. Who will be the murderer always takes some decision making--sometimes that's the first person who comes to mind, but sometimes I'm not sure who the suspect will be until I'm into the book a ways.

Sometimes I have to shoot an e-mail off to Dr. Lyle to see if my idea for murdering someone will work and what the corpse will look like after a certain time period. He is always very obliging. Have you ever checked out Dr. Lyle's website? Most educational.

The Rocky Bluff P.D. series is easier for me to come up with a new plot. For one thing, I always need to decide which of my cop characters and/or their families are going to have major billing. I collect news clippings of unusual crimes that I think I might use one day in a story. I also follow some of the online police reports for ideas. I especially like small town crimes because both of my series are set in small towns.

I've gotten other ideas by attending my local Sisters in Crime meetings and listening to detectives, coroners, and police officers. I always take careful notes because I never know when something I've heard will fit perfectly into a story I'm writing.

In the next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel, as yet untitled, the murder victim is beheaded. Certainly gruesome, but the county coroner who told the story to us took great glee in giving all the details to a room full of women right before lunch.

When you think about it, we mystery writers do think and write about terrible things. I've had people ask me why I do it. My answer always is I have absolutely no control over what goes on in the real world, but in the worlds that I create I do have some control and I know the bad guy will always get caught in the end.

So, how many ways have you murdered someone?

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I know what you mean! When I was eating lunch with a bunch of mystery writers, following a workshop, we were all talking about poisons. The waitress was really wondering!

I've used blunt force trauma and poisons.

Mystery Writing is Murder

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I don't write mystery, so never killed anyone, but if I needed ideas, I'd probably turn to CSI!

L. Diane Wolfe

Shalini said...

Real neat stuff!! Truly something that interests me. Mysteries are always fascinating.
BTW! I have been following this another thing I came across. It’s sort of abstract and interesting. It’s something to do with some Legend
By the way, good writing style. I'd love to read more on similar topics