*Not all mystery writers. Not only mystery writers. Not all the time. Not without good reason.
- Discuss mysteries. We never tire of this subject, so don’t even try to make us stop.
- Read new books, then proceed to tell the author and everyone else how much we love them. See #1.
- 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.
- 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?
- Attend lectures on subjects like forensics, poisons, stalkers, homicide. Realize that family members may not want us to report back with specifics, after all.
- 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.
- Refer to characters as if they were real. Because they are, to us.
- 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.
- Go off by ourselves to write. There is no substitute for this.
- 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.
- Dive wholeheartedly into mystery films or television shows. Talk about how much you love them too.
- Shout “eureka!” or the equivalent when a solution to the current plot snarl pops into mind.
- Think very hard about what to put on our bookmarks. They are serious business.
- Notice that we are drawn to designs featuring skulls, daggers, magnifying glasses, or question marks.
- Celebrate friends’ launches. Send congratulatory messages, share the news, go to readings, buy the book—then, see #2.
- Feel grateful. For readers, bloggers, editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, reviewers, and other writers.
- Attend fabulous conferences like Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, Killer Nashville, Thrillerfest and more. The force is strong with these ones.
- Close down the bar at any of the aforementioned conferences. Or at least hang out for awhile. Fascinating conversations blossom there.
- 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.
- Offer up thanks every day for having found the mystery community. ♥︎
What else belongs on the list, dear readers?