Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Joy of Mayhem - RM Greenaway

Q: Why did you decide to become a writer and in particular a writer of crime fiction?

My reasons are much the same as Susan's.

INFLUENCE: It's what I read growing up. Crime fiction was my home. Who influenced me most? I once tried to describe my work to a literary agent, and came up with "Ed McBain meets Ruth Rendell". He liked that. He said, "Write that down and use it." So I have and am.

Photo from Unsplash by RhondaK, Native Florida Folk Artist 
STRUCTURE: I love the built-in conflict of the genre. Crime is the fresh, blank canvas. All it needs is a story, and there are endless variations on the theme. Something bad happens, and it's got to be worked out. Questions are asked, and they need to be answered. 

FUN:  Susan mentioned the fun of writing crime novels, and that's the main draw for me. I would never last beyond chapter one if I wasn't having fun. I like dust-ups and foot chases and misunderstandings that sometimes morph into murder. Could I accomplish all that in real life? No!

RESOLUTIONS:  I do like resolving stuff too, and in real life that rarely happens. On paper I can create mayhem, and then wrap it up, tie the loose ends, and leave everybody happy -- at least till the next book opens. 

I CAN SAY SOMETHING:  I can express myself, and at my own speed. I'm not good with snappy comebacks, and I've got a serious fear of public speaking that I've been fighting since kindergarten. Imagine, I thought writing was a way to avoid having to talk! Yes, I thought writing was all about writing! Turns out it's half about writing and half about -- guess what -- public speaking. But that's good too. What would life be without the spice of gut-wrenching, horrible, frightening, sickening, terrifying challenges? Still, I prefer the end of the day, when I get to sit at my keyboard all by myself and let the words flow. That's when I'm happiest. 

EXPLORING GOOD AND BAD, RIGHT AND WRONG: It's a thing we do when we write. In one way or another, I think we're trying to figure life out, and also find our community. These days, with the world taking wild turns -- speaking euphemistically -- I feel a little jolted off course. I'm less confident about right and wrong. Some days I feel I've lost my bearings, feel a little like Major Tom floating off into the darkness of space without a tether. Does this make me want to stop writing? No, in fact I need my fictional world even more -- and appreciate more the work of other writers as well. Again, it's home.

So for the above reasons -- and others I've missed, I'm sure-- that's why I've become a writer of crime fiction!


Dietrich Kalteis said...

You're so right, Rachel. It's got to be fun.

RJ Harlick said...

So many of your reasons for writing crime fiction resonate with me too. Good post, Rachel.

Unknown said...

Thanks Dietrich and RJ. I guess we've got a weird idea of fun, but whatever works!

Susan C Shea said...

Yes, Rachel, and that one about resolution really matters - we may not be able to play a just divinity in the real world, but in our books, we are all-powerful!