Do you have what it takes to be the next Agatha Christie? Well…maybe. The trouble with being a brand new mystery writer is that you may often feel like your treading water in the deep end with killer talent swimming laps all around you. I feel your pain!
For me the trouble usually begins and ends with some pretty deep rooted perfectionist tendencies. I look at Agatha Christie’s work and sometimes wonder if I should just chop my hands off and have done with it! Her plots are so intricate – so tightly knitted, and yet the final simplicity of the solution always leaves me in wonder as to how I could have missed it. And that, my friend, is the absolute beauty of the whole damn thing!
How do we, as writers, avoid looking outside of ourselves for perfection? I can’t count the pieces of work I have failed to finish, or have been afraid to publish because, in comparison to “The Queen of Crime,” I have found myself lacking…sigh.
The truth is that based on those standards, we may all come up a bit short. But should we really be “chasing Agatha” in the first place? The answer is no…and yes.
Agatha Christie is behind only Shakespeare and The Bible in terms of worldwide sales. Her work has been translated into more languages than I am even aware of. Frankly, she deserves her place in history – she deserves the throne! If we were “chasing Agatha” in terms of outdoing her, I fear that the race would be so long and arduous, we would eventually all go home, set fire to our journals and reduce ourselves to a deep and meaningful relationship with a never ending supply of chocolate and reality television!
The chase we should be engaged in is one with ourselves. How much did you write yesterday? How much will you write today? What mistakes did you make last week? How many will you make tomorrow? Writing should never be about how wonderful someone else is, or how well you stack up against them – it should always be about the story that is whispered in your ear as you try to sleep…the story that is meant for you alone to tell.
This blog is about “chasing Agatha” in all the right ways. It’s not about trying to catch Agatha; it’s about catching the true writer inside of you.
A part of that comes from the technical aspects of the classic murder mystery. I believe that by studying the mix of emotional simplicity alongside the complex plot mapping in the works of Agatha Christie and others like her, we can push our own writing to its full potential!
I also believe that the most important part of writing is in the doing. It’s about gaining the personal insight to actually DO this thing we love, not without fear, but in spite of it! That is probably the most important thing I have learned from “The Queen.”
Please join me here every Friday as we delve into new topics and insights that will help you – and me – become writers worth chasing!
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You guys have a great week of writing!