Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dry-Clean Only Books

Unknown Dutch Master - Still-Life with Books (ca. 1628, Oil on wood, 61,3 x 97,4 cm) I shop like a woman on a mission. I walk in, usually clutching the postcard or coupon that has been mailed to me. Must get navy slacks! I find the navy slacks. I sometimes don’t even try them on, just hold them up. Looks like they’ll fit! I buy them, race out the door, and I’m free! Free with navy slacks!

Except—they’re dry clean only.

I don’t even think about dry clean only. Not in my world. Not with muddy children and a husband who works for a dot-com corporation. They don’t need dry clean only clothes.

I don’t need dry clean only clothes.

The sad process is always the same. Since I never change it, the outcome never changes. I decide that the clothing manufacturer is in cahoots with a dry cleaning syndicate. I put the clothes in the washer on the gentle cycle.

And they die a horrible death.

I can’t handle “complicated” for books, either right now. It’s terrible to admit this— but I just don’t have the time, no matter how much I’d like to.

Right now I’m reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—take II. The first time it had to be returned to the library before I was able to finish it. I decided to buy the book for my second attempt.

It’s a complicated book. There are many family members listed. I felt like I needed a family tree. The plot has different lines and elements. It’s a rich book, though—complex and unique.

I wish I had more time to devote to it!

I write machine-washable, dryer-friendly books. Go ahead and give them a try---you can pick them up, put them down, pause for a week then pick it up again…you shouldn’t be too confused.

  • I don’t write similar-sounding character names.
  • I don’t have more than six suspects. I don’t have more than two victims.
  • I frequently tag a character that’s been off-stage for a while when they come back on: Jim, Karen’s husband, sauntered up to the group…
  • There is no forensic stuff that you feel you need to go to med school to grasp.

The reason I’ve adopted the way I write is because I’m reading in spurts. I’ll start reading, then a household emergency comes up. I’ve read several mysteries that have unveiled a killer and I had to flip to the beginning to figure out who they were. Not cool. I’m writing books for busy people like me.

We need both kinds of books…the dry clean only and the machine washable. Life goes through cycles. I’ve had Bleak House periods and beach book periods. I’m having a great time with Larsson’s book, even though it’s taking me a huge amount of time to digest it.

How much time are you spending reading? Do you gravitate toward quicker reads? A little of both? Which do you tend to write and why?

And now---it’s Thursday morning! You know what that means…009 food!

This morning I’m serving up garlic cheese grits at the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. For those of you curious as to what the heck grits are, all will be explained at the Kitchen. :)