Those that don’t add up, and never will

In Animals, Current reading, Games, New story, Querying, Synopsis, Uncategorized on December 27, 2014 at 8:40 am

Years ago, someone close to me had what she considered the solution: write to formula. You know you can. You’ve written to any number of specs from any number of clients. Find a genre you like, read as many as you can, then do what they’re doing.

The mathematical approach. Works for the 1-2-3, algebra, algorithms. Even works for music.

Mystery novels use something of the same principle. They go from grade-one simplicity to elegant solutions to complex equations. When you put down the book, no matter how bleak the story or its outcome, there’s a sense of justice served or of something settled, once and for all. A killer, identified. A reason, or a modus operandi: same. A relationship: terminated or re-redefined forever by the revelations.

I’d love to write a book like that. I’d love to look at it with the satisfaction a mathematician must experience once he’s solved an intricate polynomial equation. Or when I watch a little kid “get it”, whatever the “it” may be.

Except none of my stories work out that way. Some questions get answers, but most of them don’t. Most of the questions open out on more questions. The End doesn’t lead to a sense of completion. Too many things unanswered. Too many unanswerable. Plus, of course, answers no one wants to claim as theirs.

Who done it? Why? How? More to the point: how will the knowing change the course of future events and redefine what you thought you knew? Whereto, now that none of the witnesses happened to look down from a high window at precisely the right moment?

I love mystery novels. A whole section of my bookshelves is devoted to them. There’s any number of writers I would love to be, but am not.

Maybe I’ll do my own online thingie and call it Platypus Press. Joke. My computer-related skills give new meaning to the word dummy.

Secrets. Clues. Riddles. How I loved solving them as a child. How smart and competent I felt, every time I did.

What’s a mystery with no answers? A mystery. It niggles, and forces you to write another story, for those moments when you feel that this time, for sure, you’ll “nail it”, whatever “it” may be.


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