When you say, “I’m a writer” to the man or woman on the street, they invariably respond with some version of the query, “What do you write?”
I have tried to respond with the generic, “All types of stuff” or even the more descriptive, but still terribly vague, “Fiction.” Then, in response to the glazed or puzzled look on their face, rush to explain. No matter what I say, they stop listening after the first few “blah, blah, blahs”.
We writers like to ramble. The first written effort is often an idea dump, a written rendition of “blah, blah, blah.” It really isn’t meant for human consumption. Then that rambling sentence is sculpted and crafted into a gem, whittling away letters and words until we’ve created a near-perfect expression of our idea.
But talking is different.
Today I am making an effort to communicate more effectively, with the thoughtful crafting of words and ideas I give to my written expression. I have crafted a new response to your question, “What do you write?”
I write Social Mysteries. Unlike an actual Mystery novel, there is no dead body or crime to solve. Instead, my characters must solve the social dilemmas that humans face everyday under stressful and challenging conditions. It’s real-life stuff, crafted to provoke pondering. Meant to inspires the questions:
- What will they do?
- What would I do?
- What should people do under such circumstances?
- Is there always one right thing to do?
That’s the kind of mystery I like to explore, the type that lives in the human psyche. In Social Mysteries, you won’t find a typical villain. No Sherlock and Watson or Castle and Beckett to save the day.
As a result of reading a Social Mystery, I want us to think. And discuss. And change. Maybe grow. Definitely laugh at ourselves.
Someone once suggested I write with more closure, a happy ending with all the problems solved. Wouldn’t that be more commercially successful? Maybe. But I was always the kid who argued for all the answers on a multiple choice test. When you think about life’s possibilities, can’t more than one answer create a solution?
Humans love to live in the black and white: each problem has a right or wrong answer, no gray area, no confusion. But I like options. For that flaw, strength. In a fearful moment, courage. The road, and the road less traveled. Choices.
Options give my characters freedom. More than one answer/action/choice could be correct, providing a satisfying conclusion. In this way, writing Social Mysteries allows me to be right more often.
And, really, what gal doesn’t like that?