I don't know why I'm writing a murder mystery. I was never much of a fan of murder mysteries - not that I have a problem with them, they just aren't my thing. And yet, here I am writing a murder mystery.
It's not going well, if you're wondering. I had a couple of months in there in which I was just useless. While I'm back at it now, it's not going well. I write several pages a day, but I'm not making progress somehow.
Something very interesting about the process is how original it would appear I'm not. You would think that someone who hasn't read a ton of murder mysteries would be ideally suited for writing something totally new. Now that I've read a bunch of murder mysteries, that wouldn't appear to be true.
First, it was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I knew nothing about the dragon tattoo books when I created my pierced, dyed, tattooed hacker with no social skills and uncanny skills with machines. She's nothing like Lisbeth Salander once you get to know her, but the surface similarities are such that I had to retool. And that was a good thing, really. I was relying too much on the character's outward appearance; plus having a character who is a hacker when I don't know anything about hacking is kind of lazy. So The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was good for me. Yes.
Then I read some other mysteries. Turns out that even though I didn't know there was a very specific formula most mysteries employ, I was conforming to it perfectly - the two leads falling in love, the male lead pushing the female lead away in the interest of her safety, having a character wake up in the hospital only to have everything explained by a helpful cop who appears out of nowhere. Yep, it's all there. Well, not anymore, and my story's a lot better for it.
But then there's Fifty Shades. I swear to god this is the last time I'm bringing this book up. Fifty Shades wasn't even out when I created a character with red hair and grey eyes who was adopted from an abusive home, has his mother's maiden name for a middle name, and who is often thought to be gay. What the hell? I mean, my character's hair is strawberry blonde, as opposed to red...
What are the odds?