The same happened today when Rascal decided to make a detour into what yesterday had been dry dirt, but had overnight turned into mud. I could have tightened her leash and kept her away, but didn't wish to spoil her walking pleasure. I knew once she walked on the grass and sidewalk, her paws would probably come clean, and if worse came to worse, I could wipe them off on the way into the kitchen.
That little detour in more than one way reminded me of mysteries where characters figuratively walk in the mud and most often come out unscathed.
Why do they do it? Here are some reasons I've come up:
- Curiosity - Something deadly or out of the ordinary happens and the character's mind is not set to rest until the riddle is solved.
- Necessity - Something dire is likely to occur unless the character faces fears and obstacles and overcomes them.
- A desire to do good - The welfare of one or more others is at stake, prompting a noble character to brave dangers.
- Escapism - A desire to live someone else's life for a short while, and be brave or cowardly, without suffering the consequences.
On a side note - I was employed as a legal secretary when I wrote Killer Career, the story of a lawyer who gave up her practice to become a writer, a decision which turned unexpectedly dangerous. Later, I realized the book had been inspired by my frustration at seeing no way out of the security of my longstanding job. For a while, I could live the life of someone who did escape, faced the consequences, and was able to defeat them.
Walking in mud can also apply to mystery/thriller readers who bond with fictional characters, experience their trials, yet can breathe a sigh of relief and wipe off their feet, so to speak, after all is right again in the make-believe world.
Can you think of other instances where walking in mud might apply? Or, maybe you'd just like to comment on one of my examples.
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