Writing, Mysteries and Consulting Experts

June 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On my 10th day after repatriating to the US in Massachusetts I had settled in some and aside from my job search, I was checking the daily local paper for events happening in the area that day. This morning I found that the local library was hosting a speaker, Susan Santangelo, the author of the Baby Boomer Mystery series. I left with 2 books in hand and contact information for a local event organizer, an excellent contact.

While Susan was sharing her writing process, I was surprised to hear that she does not map out a story but the story evolves as she writes. Susan begins with the title, the focus for the story. As she writes the story there are a few characters who may be the murder victim and it is while writing the story the that character who is the victim is revealed during the first draft process. She also mentioned that sleep can help solve a dilemma in the writing process. I have heard other authors share this, but Susan also explained well the occurrence where the characters can lead the writer through the story. We were all sitting around a large table and I think that hearing an author describe this (apologies) mysterious dynamic personally was very revealing.

It reminded me, as a teacher, that a published author offers so much more to teach writing strategies to my writers. Even an author who does not write children’s books. It was the way Susan explained her process and sources for inspiration in an intimate setting that left me feeling inspired. I have used author interviews before as part of our nonfiction writing unit while teaching in Prague. We Skyped with author Tami Lewis Brown, and she spoke about research and writing nonfiction. My young writers were hanging on her every word and applied her strategies in the following weeks of independent nonfiction writing.

We learn from experts and as lifelong learners it’s so important to take advantage of experts both near and far. Now I’m off to read the first in Susan’s series, Retirement Can Be Murder. (I really wanted to first read the second in the series, Moving Can Be Murder, due to my personal circumstances but order prevailed!)

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