Muskie and Murder engages audience
Michael and Sharon – Muskie and Murder presentation June 27. Shane Joseph photo.
Muskie and Murder with Michael Robert Dyet (Muskie) and me, Sharon A. Crawford (Murder) made its debut presentation last evening at S. Walter Stewart Library. It was my East End Writers’ Group’s second event for 2018. Although I was disappointed in the small number of people who attended (probably to inaccurate weather forecasts for torrential rain) those of us there were really engaged in the presentation. I’m not talking just Michael and I and our guest speaker, Shane Joseph (editor at Blue Denim Press – our publisher), but the whole audience of writers and readers.
There was a continual conversation going on among all of us and I think we learned a lot. I know I did.
Using four different set-ups, we were all looking at what Michael so aptly titled The War between Literary Fiction and Mystery Fiction. We discussed questions dealing with plot and characters in both and not only discovered there is both in both types of fiction, but we found out we all read more than one or the other. Margaret Atwood (she of Alias Grace and The Handmaidens Tale) and Stephen King (Pet Cemetery,The Shining, The Outsider) entered the conversation – at least their names and writings did. So did memoirs – another “M” area of writing. Perhaps we should add Memoir to future presentations?
Then Shane asked Michael and I questions on plot and characters and then he asked us how often do we write and do we write regularly.
Not as often or regularly as we would like. The other stuff of life (Michael’s day job, my teaching writing and editing, the garden, and house problems ), all took up necessary time. But there are a lot of other things in our lives that can be pruned or purged and some of what is still there can be manouvered somewhat.
Michael and I read parts from our books based on a theme (not telling what – we want to use it at more presentations).
And then it was skit time. Michael played Norah Watson from “Slipstream”, the novella in Hunting Muskie and I played PI Dana Bowman (although Dana might argue about the latter as she thinks she wrote Beyond Faith and is a separate person. Hmm.) Norah had reluctantly hired Dana to find a missing family member, but Norah and Dana are like oil and water.
You can imagine how that went. If not you’ll have to catch a Muskie and Murder presentation in the fall.
PI Dana Bowman and Norah Watson. Shane Joseph photo.
Meantime, this whole presentation, particularly what the writers and readers in the audience said, has inspired me to get back on my creative writing track. Not just writing book promo blurbs and the like, but my own M and M – Mystery and Memoir. I remembered that I used to always write at least two afternoons a week – Friday was sacrosanct for my creative writing, with Wednesday afternoon another one.
Earlier this year I started the fourth Beyond mystery book, started another rewrite of a black noir mystery short story, and returned to my memoir writing – both the book and some shorter pieces for possible magazine publication.
And anyone who dares interfere with my writing time, let’s just say it could mean “murder”.
Well, between the book covers.
Do you write regularly?
How do you do it?
Sharon A. Crawford
The Mystery half of Muskie and Murder.
Michael and Sharon with Muskie and Murder. Shane Joseph photo.
Tags: Beyond Faith and Sharon A. Crawford, Blue Denim Press, Dana Bowman, East End Writers' Group, Fiction Plot and Characters, Literary Fiction versus Mystery Fiction, Michael Robert Dyet and Hunting Muskie, Mystery Novels, Shane Joseph, writing
June 29, 2018 at 5:12 pm
Hi Sharon, I’m glad at least one of us is blogging regularly. I lost my source of books to review and so have not been blogging much lately. I’d be interested in discussing book-marketing tools with you. So far, I’m a novice in this area of writing, though I have sold about 400 copies of my first book, “Terror’s Identity,” in a year and a half. My second book, “Emily’s Ride to Courage,” came out on January 1, 2018, just before I got quite ill. But since I’ve recovered, I’ve sold about 75 copies. Mostly at the local farmers’ market here in New Bern, NC. Amazon has also sold a few, but you know how much that nets the writer I’m sure.
Sharon A. Crawford
July 6, 2018 at 11:10 am
Thanks for your comments. Don’t know about me blogging regularly and replying to comments. I usually reply within a couple of days but all the crap in life got in the way – read health and house problems. I also usually post to my author blog every Thursday but am not getting to it until today.
But I am glad you commented and am impressed with the number of copies of your first book. I know you are in the US but here in Canada 500 copies sold is considered good so you are close to that.
I would love to exchange ideas on book promo with you and maybe we can do a blog post exchange. I have your email from the WordPress notice and will be emailing you next week as I suspect the info shared will be more than a short comment.
Again apologies for not posting your comment sooner.
July 11, 2018 at 6:28 am
Sorry I missed it.
I “write” every morning, early because I can’t sleep past 5:30am, but I should probably spend more time editing. My spelling and grammar are terrible and I often publish work that really isn’t ready for public digestion so while I post fairly often, at least once a week at one of my three blogs, I probably shouldn’t count that as “writing”.
My excuse? I’m not sure. I am working this summer but only occasional days. The days that I do work leave me almost immobile afterwards. My garden is hardly an excuse, believe me, it is a shame! I think my excuse is the same old one, bad habits take less time to establish and good habits fly out the window like bats out of belfries.
One strategy is I don’t drink coffee unless I am sitting at the computer answering correspondence and reading the blogs I follow (yours), and at least thinking about writing. *meep* Coffee and touch typing are linked in my brain. It is my reward for the attempt.
Sharon A. Crawford
July 11, 2018 at 11:59 am
Sometimes it takes discipline to sit down in front of the computer and write. You could try the Freefall Writing exercise. Take a word, an emotion, even a sentence from a book, copy at the top of your blank Word document and then just write (type) whatever comes to mind – nothing is wrong and don’t worry about spelling or editing. Write for at least 15 minutes non-stop or longer. You could set a timer I suppose. This is supposed to loosen up your writing and get you writing. You may even get the hint or start of a story. I used to do this at the beginning of an East End Writers’ Group meeting – we wrote instead of typed using a word or even something visual. Something visual got one author going with a short story, which expanded into a whole book of short stories that was published. Maybe I will try this again for our July meeting.
Surprisingly I am managing to write two afternoons a week – although not Wednesday and Friday afternoon – I am doing an overhaul rewrite of my memoir book right now. But I still have PR stuff to write for Beyond Faith to get more presentation gigs, etc. and do blog postings and other social media stuff and the latter seems to take up too much time. And client work, but I need the money.
As for your editing comment, I found that doing the edit separately from the writing helps. Of course, that gets a bit fine-lined as to which you are doing when you are rewriting something, particularly a memoir that has sat for a few years in a computer file and only bits and pieces have been extracted as the basis for shorter personal essays for magazines. But this latter is paying off.
I do need to edit my stuff carefully as my sight is limited in my left eye.
Also I find going for a walk gets the creative juices flowing. Just have to follow it up with sitting down right after in front of the computer and writing.