Curses, Kisses and Other Stuff We Love to Write

Dialogue? Description? Character? Food? What are the Chicks’ favorite elements to write in their mysteries? Read on to find out—they may be ones you’d least expect!

Kellye Garrett


If I had to choose the most fun thing about writing Pay Day, it has to be the cursing. Or should I say, lack thereof. As anyone who has been around me for even just 5 minutes will tell you, I love to curse. Love. Love. Love. Like, I truly feel that it should be recognized as a second language (and that’s not just because I dropped out of Spanish during sophomore year of high school). So what do I go and do? Have a main character who doesn’t curse. I wish I could say that there was some deep reason behind this but mainly it was so I could tell people who read it, “What do you (CENSORED) mean the main character is exactly like me? We’re completely (CENSORED) different, you (CENSORED). She doesn’t curse, (CENSORED)! Hel-(CENSORED)-lo!” It ended up being quite a fun challenge. Of course, it meant that I had to get creative when it came to expressing Day’s…displeasure—lots of acronyms (WTF!), abbreviations (a-hole!) and made up words (fudge!). But I managed to (CENSORED) do it! I will admit that I did allow myself one single curse word in the entire book. It’s when…well, you’ll just have to read it one day to find out…

 Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Okay, okay. Technically, I am a mystery writer. And my sleuths and I need to focus on solving murders. But I love, love, love penning awkward romantic situations. (Did I mention You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies?) The more complicated and embarrassing for my main characters (one of my sleuths is twentysomething; the other is seventysomething), the better. I may have developed this penchant for sticky problems of the heart when I worked for the book packager that created the teen series Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams. (Yep, plenty of “sweet” in my resume.) Sometimes my colleagues complained or completely despaired of having to come up with yet another way to bust up some obviously-made-for-each-other couple. Conversation at typical editorial meeting: “I’m not going to write it. You write it.” “No way. You write it.” “I know! Let’s give it to Lisa. She loves that stuff.” (Actually, “stuff” was not the exact word they used.) So what does this say about me? And how did I end up gleefully bumping off fictional (and totally deserving) victims as a mystery author? Truly, I have no clue.

Ellen Byron


Since my day job is writing television comedy in the form of sitcoms or animation, I get my fill of creating dialogue on the job. Don’t get me wrong.When I’m writing my mysteries, I love developing the language of each character, as I so highfalutin’ly like to describe it. But these days, what I really love writing are the descriptions in my Cajun Country series. The smell of Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding, the view of the river from a centuries-old plantation… creating images like these is something I can’t do when I’m working my butt off to come up with jokes for a television show. However, I do have description burnout in one particular area. There are a myriad of sunsets in my new manuscript, Body on the Bayou, because they’re integral to the plot and man, is it rough coming up with unique descriptions for each one. I think my next book may take place in the dark!

 Marla Cooper

CotC Word balloons

“This week we’re writing about what we love to write.”
“All right, so what do you love to write?”
“I don’t know, I like writing everything! Even catchy phrases to go on the top of Manwich cans!”
“Really? They pay people to write things like that?”
“Hey, it was fun. Don’t judge.”
“Whatever. You can’t say you love to write Manwich cans. That’d be weird.”
“I wasn’t saying I love to write Manwich cans. I’m saying I love to write everything.”
“Even instruction manuals for VCRs? You’re saying you’d love to write that?”
“You know what I mean. Why are we bickering about this?”
“We’re not bickering, we’re bantering.”
“If we’re bantering, then why aren’t there cocktails?”
“Okay, fine, I’ll make us some cocktails. But you know what I think?”
“That we should have bought more gin if we were going to make cocktails?”
“No, that you like to write dialogue.”
“Oh, wow. I think you might be right. But what should I say about it, other than, ‘My favorite thing to write is dialogue’?”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something.”

2 thoughts on “Curses, Kisses and Other Stuff We Love to Write

  1. Marla, I love to write dialogue too. When I can’t figure out what to write, I write talking. And my favorite talking is romantic banter, Lisa. Without swearing, Kellye. Despite the fact that I too swear like a sailor. But Ellen, I wish I loved writing description. I usually make note of where it goes and come back later. Describing things is hard.


    1. I do that too! I’ll write the dialogue as the foundation of the scene, then add the exposition, description (ew), and other stuff later to flesh it out. So much easier than trying to juggle all those balls at the same time!


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