Thursday, September 13, 2018

Don't Upset a Writer

There's an old joke among writers: don't piss us off. You'll probably end up as an unflattering character or a murder victim in our next project.

There's another joke among writers: if you ever need to bump someone off or dispose of a body, ask a writer. Chances are he or she has thought through a hundred different ways to do it.

The thing about these jokes, though, is that writers usually get our retribution through writing. We don't tend to do the things we write about in real life. If someone legitimately encouraged us to cause real harm to another person or actually help in the commission of a crime, the answer would likely be a resounding "hell no." That's not how we deal with life's slings and arrows. Writing about them is generally enough to satisfy the desire and alleviate the pain.

But not in all cases.

If there were any rules about committing a crime (and I'm sure there are), rule #1 should be: don't write about it on the internet before you do it. And yet, a romance novelist may have done just that. Nancy Crampton Brophy has been charged with murdering her husband; this same author also wrote a blog post called "How to Murder Your Husband":
Crampton Brophy, 68, was arrested Sept. 5 on charges of murdering her husband with a gun and unlawful use of a weapon in the death of her husband, Daniel Brophy, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

The killing puzzled police and those close to Daniel Brophy from the start. Brophy, a 63-year-old chef, was fatally shot at his workplace at the Oregon Culinary Institute on the morning of June 2. Students were just beginning to file into the building for class when they found him bleeding in the kitchen, KATU2 news reported. Police had no description of the suspect.

In Crampton Brophy’s “How to Murder Your Husband” essay, she had expressed that although she frequently thought about murder, she didn’t see herself following through with something so brutal. She wrote she would not want to “worry about blood and brains splattered on my walls,” or “remembering lies.”

“I find it easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them,” she wrote. “. . . But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”
It's kind of surprising to me that Brophy's books are romances and yet apparently involve a lot of murder and death. I don't read romance, so maybe murder and death is a common theme and I just don't know it. Of course, as I was thinking about last year's NaNoWriMo book, I surprised myself when I realized that the genre may, in fact, be romance. One without any murder, though.

This year's book will be an adventure/superhero story. And I'm excited to say I'm getting a very clear picture in my head of the story and its key scenes, an important milestone for me if I want to write something I consider good. I didn't have that for last year's project, which is why no one has seen it and I haven't touched it since November 30th. It was by design that I went into it without much prep - that's encouraged for NaNo, to write without bringing out the inner editor. And I'll admit, there are some sections in the book that are beautifully written. I surprised myself, in a good way, with some of it. But all-in-all, it's a mess in need of a LOT of work.

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