Spring is just a few days away, though you wouldn’t know it from the recent snowfall blanketing our east coast. Writing contest season is also in full swing, which means I’ve been spending more time judging other peoples’ writing than focusing on my own these past few weeks.
It’s an interesting experience.
For this year’s Golden Hart, I’m just finishing up a set of “inspirational” entries. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they’ve mostly been “sweet” contemporary stories (no sex and occasional God references). Definitely different from the paranormal entries that I judged previously, but it has, as always, been a learning experience. It seems far easier to recognize what is not working in someone else’s story than it is in mine. Using the information in Nancy’s recent post on conflict-locks last week, I tried to create a conflict box for each of the stories I read. No surprise that the stories I enjoyed the most / rated the highest were those that had a clear conflict lock. It’s a good reminder to me to take a close look at my own stories and make sure I have the conflict locked down.
As soon as I finish the last few contest entries, it is back to writing for me. Naturally that means I need to watch some television first.
Everyone has their own writing routine – whether it’s a special writing spot, a soundtrack or playlist, or maybe a specific writing time. After a great deal of trial and error my routine has turned out to involve late nights, good coffee, and some television viewing to get me in the right frame of mind (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
While reading contest entries has been a nice change of pace, I need to get my mind back into my story world. Since I’ll be working on my Cassie & Nicolai mystery story that means I want to immerse myself in clues and investigations, along with a heavy dose of humor and snappy dialogue. Television shows and movies are a great way for me to do that. Although did recently pull out the cozy-mysteries from my TBR pile and power through them, seeing actors on screen is often more helpful for me. If nothing else, it keeps me from getting distracted by the writer’s voice or style.
All of which brings me to the reason for today’s post.
I need help.
I’ve already watched my way through His Girl Friday (for the snappy dialogue), Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher Mysteries, and Death in Paradise (for the mysteries), and even Valentine’s Day (for the romantic humor), but my viewing queue is running low.
What would you recommend I watch in order to get in the (light-hearted) mystery-writing frame of mind?
My empty queue awaits.