Sunday, October 9, 2011

What’s a nice girl like you doing writing that genre? Part B

I’m not so nice. Don’t let the laugh lines fool you.

I’ve read other writers’ takes on this question. Some say that mysteries boil down to a battle between good and evil – that’s what attracts the writer to the genre. I can go along with that; sure I’m interested in that struggle. But the underlying question I ask myself remains: why write about something so dark as murder? Couldn’t the stakes be less drastic?

I really don’t know why I write what I write. It’s just what I feel compelled to write. When some acquaintances were (as we say here in the South) fixing to buy my novel, they asked me if my novel had any vampires or werewolves (to make sure it didn’t). And though my first novel doesn’t include supernatural or fantasy elements, the stigma bothered me.

Sure, some people don’t like fantasy. I totally understand that. But what would be wrong with me choosing to write a novel with such supernatural figures in it… or witches, for instance? I’m a Christian, so I do have certain beliefs about witches, and I don’t want to encourage any real-world witch worship. But if it’s not okay for me to write about imaginary witches in an imaginary world, or vampires, how can it be okay for me to write about murder, or anything un-Godly? Where do you draw that line?

I struggle with this topic. And as a Christian, I realize that my cozy murder mystery novel is trite in the grand scheme of eternity. My novel won’t stick; it’s flotsam; it’s entertainment. And also as a Christian, I realize that I’m not so nice, anyway. Not that I’m giving up the fight to be nice. But it’s always going to be a lifelong struggle... and I don't always win.

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