Dear Diary,

For the past several days, I’ve been reading more fiction novels. Specifically, murder mysteries. I love to read, but it’s unusual for me to focus so heavily on only one genre, and absolutely no nonfiction. I’ve read 3 novels, each a best seller and written by mystery writers who have quite impressive reputations. Not Christie. I’ve read, I’m pretty sure, all her work at least once.

In the novels I’ve read this week, I was surprised to find some writing that I found really unsatisfying. There were some extremely annoying characters in one, which also had some of the most boring dialogue I’ve ever read. “Hi, Character. How are you today?” “I’m fine, how are you? I brought some biscuits to share.” Good grief.

One was quite interesting, but depressing more than anything else. What I liked about it were the clues. They were genuine. But what I found rather disappointing is that I solved the murder way too soon and way too easily. It was rather a no brainer because there were really only two suspects.

The third is really more of a thriller. While I want my mysteries to be thrilling, I don’t want them to edge to the thriller genre. I don’t want to ever show the act of killing as it’s happening, and I don’t want to give internal dialogue from the murderer’s perspective as they’re killing. It’s my strong feeling that at best it’s yucky (if realistic) and at worst it’s pretentious (if unrealistic). I don’t want to write that.

All 3 were entertaining in different ways, but all 3 were somehow lacking for me as a reader. Also, really – as a writer, too. But that’s a good thing, ultimately. If someone were providing what I want, I wouldn’t need to write anything for it. Someone else would already be doing it for me. And I want to pitch in my hat here.

In wanting to sort of – sort through my thoughts here but in an informal, loose way, I borrowed a technique I learned in chemo rehab. I used different colored pens to scribble out my thoughts and feelings, my questions – in layers, for myself. Whatever came to mind, I wrote.

It isn’t meant to be legible. It’s just meant to help me sort through my thoughts. And it did help. After doing this, I really feel like I have a much better grasp on what I want to do with my mystery writing. It’s invigorating.

See you tomorrow,