Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kisses and cocktails and a little light jazz.

How much sex and violence do I weave in?  Are you accusing me of writing crafting cozies?  I couldn't weave with a gun to my head.  Or crochet.  Or knit.  I've often said that the greatest technological leap in the evolution of modern humans happened the day someone looked at a sheep -a sheep! - and said "I've had a brilliant idea.  Why don't we . . ."

Some of my friends on the other hand . . .

Okay, enough willful misunderstanding of the question.  Honestly?  When it comes to the Dandy Gilver mysteries, very little.  These are my hommage to the golden age and I don't put anything in them that you wouldn't have been found in Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham or Josephine Tey (although I'm not sure I ever have managed a tone as dark, bleak and just plain nasty as some of Allingham's - how these ever got the cozy title, I'll never know). 

So, it's an extra constriction, to be sure, along with the requirement for an early murder, a late solution, and some red herrings, but if we minded constriction we would hardly be writing in this genre, would we?  The compensation for me in the Dandy stories is that no one has a mobile phone, there is no forensics and I never have to write one of those desk-bound google scenes.  When Dandy Gilver and her sidekick Alec Osborne dig for background they do it in dusty church vestries or the mahogany-lined offices of shipping agents or what have you, with scope for all manner of Dickensian walk-ons.  

But now I've started writing modern stand-alone suspense too.  In the first one, As She Left It the story didn't throw up much in the way of either graphic sex or explicit violence.  It was a relief not to have to keep checking the vocabulary in the Shorter Oxford for anachronisms, mind you, and I may have gone slightly F-tastic with the curses just because, for once, there was nothing stopping me. 
In the new one (working title The Day She Died) the story does involve sex and violence and I've followed the characters into the bedroom and out again as well as watching the bones shatter and the blood drip from quite close-up too.  It's still being edited.  Maybe some of the squelching (sexual and violent) will end up on the cutting room floor.  If so, it'll be because, as Chris said yesterday, the story is better without it.  We'll see.


Howard Sherman said...

The Day She Died sounds like it's going to have the right mix. A little sex and violence never hurt anyone!

Catriona McPherson said...

A little . . . violence never hurt anyone. Love it.

Reece said...

Sounds like you have the best of both worlds -- visit a bygone era in one book, and then it's f-bombs, sex and grisly murder in the next. Perhaps someday you could combine the two in some sort of mash-up?

M Louise Kelly said...

Am I just odd in actually quite liking constraints in my writing (and I'm not talking S&M here!)? I confess to being the kind of person who finds it much more relaxing to shop in my local co-op (UK translation: small and generally inadequately stocked (not very) super-market) than in a huge supermarket because it makes me work with the ingredients i'm given rather than fanny on deciding which one of 10 squillion possibiliities i'll serve up for tea that night.

So, in writing for kids and teens, it's quite liberating knowing that there are some places i'm not likely to go. If i've picked the right theme for that audience, there's not much i can't put in there.

On the other hand, i'm still waiting to be published, so maybe it's the self censorship that i'm so good at is exactly what's holding back the creative flow that could be getting me noticed... hmm... Good food for thought, McPherson.

Catriona McPherson said...

Ha-ha, trying anonymity eh, M Louise Kelly? Not claiming responsibility for those finger puppets.

M Louise Kelly said...

ahh, thought if i mentioned S&M and horror-crafting in one comment that would be the end of my career as children's writer before it even began.

But yeah, anyone who wants their literary creations immortalised in left-field crafting, then give me a shout!