Cynthia Kuhn

Things Mystery Writers Do*

*Not all mystery writers. Not only mystery writers. Not all the time. Not without good reason.

  1. Discuss mysteries. We never tire of this subject, so don’t even try to make us stop.
  2. Read new books, then proceed to tell the author and everyone else how much we love them. See #1.
  3. Talk at length about ways to murder people–and by people, we mean characters, though this has caused startled glances more than once, in public places, when the topic caught a passerby unawares.
  4. Debate things like should the body drop happen in the first chapter, or must there be a cat in our cozies, or are semi-colons wonderful or awful or somewhere in between?
  5. Attend lectures on subjects like forensics, poisons, stalkers, homicide. Realize that family members may not want us to report back with specifics, after all.
  6. Observe, observe, observe. Everything is useful: bits of an overheard argument, the way someone moves, a glimpse of an unattended suitcase. If we’re staring at you, it is possible that you—or something you’re wearing, saying, or doing—may show up in a future book.
  7. Refer to characters as if they were real. Because they are, to us.
  8. Spend too much time on social media. We could defend this using words like “promotion” and “connection” but still: we know we should be writing.
  9. Go off by ourselves to write. There is no substitute for this.
  10. Reach out during dark nights of the writerly soul. Because there is nothing quite as comforting as hearing another writer say that they have no freakin’ idea how to finish the book they’re working on, either.
  11. Dive wholeheartedly into mystery films or television shows. Talk about how much you love them too.
  12. Shout “eureka!” or the equivalent when a solution to the current plot snarl pops into mind.
  13. Think very hard about what to put on our bookmarks. They are serious business.
  14. Notice that we are drawn to designs featuring skulls, daggers, magnifying glasses, or question marks.
  15. Celebrate friends’ launches. Send congratulatory messages, share the news, go to readings, buy the book—then, see #2.
  16. Feel grateful. For readers, bloggers, editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, reviewers, and other writers.
  17. Attend fabulous conferences like Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, Killer Nashville, Thrillerfest and more. The force is strong with these ones.
  18. Close down the bar at any of the aforementioned conferences. Or at least hang out for awhile. Fascinating conversations blossom there.
  19. Join amazing groups like Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and so on. Connect with others who also can’t help writing or reading mysteries.
  20. Offer up thanks every day for having found the mystery community. ♥︎

What else belongs on the list, dear readers?




27 thoughts on “Things Mystery Writers Do*

  1. Wear a mystery type costume at every costumed event. Hence me buying wigs, shoes and men’s jackets for this weekend.
    Asking questions online that could raise red flags with the FBI, like “what kind of poison is hard to find in a toxology report (a certain ordinary mushroom can be deadly if taken with alcohol). “Is a mannequin leg heavy enough to beat some one to death” (yes).
    Always having a book in your purse or briefcase. Or two because you know you will finish it before you get home.
    Have 50 million pens and notebooks, just because you need new ones.
    Jumping up and down when your favorite author is finally doing a book signing near you.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Fun post, Cynthia! And, 21: Commiserate with author pals who also are NOT going to be attending Malice this week. *Sniff* I’m here if you need me, C.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. As a mystery reader, I identify with many of these. My friends I see every day have no idea how thankful they are for my blog because it takes a lot of the desire I’d otherwise have to share how much I loved my current read with them. And since they aren’t interested in the books I read, they’d grow tired of me monologueing before too long.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Love this so much! (And definitely ditto Marla. 🙂 ) I’m especially guilty of #3. A friend (mystery and true crime lover) and I were talking about a body bobbing in the Pacific. It wasn’t until we realized that the nice ladies in our Jazzercize class were listening, mouths agape, that we considered that maybe it wasn’t the BEST time to discuss such things.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Try to sleep in but awaken at four a.m. with the PERFECT idea for a plot twist, assume you’ll remember it, then finally fall back asleep, and have no idea what the idea was when you wake up again three hours later.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Failing to fight the irresistible pull of bookstores–and the overwhelming need to face-front all your writer friends’ titles. Because they need to be seen–and bought!

    Liked by 1 person

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