Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Building a Mystery

I have been thinking a lot, lately, about what goes into a successful mystery series. Some of the questions I've asked myself have to do with character, plots, setting, complications, conflict, etc. As the title of this entry says, ultimately, I've been considering what goes into building a mystery. (That's also the title of a Sarah McLachlan song, FYI!)

So I thought I'd do a 'miniseries' of blog entries on my own particular approach to planning and writing a mystery series. This is as much for my own benefit, as for anyone else's. I think it helps to pause every once and a while to look at how you do things and figure out if the approach is working for you.

I'll say right up front, for real advice on how to write a mystery, go to one of the fabulous books or sites for help. I'll do a little research and come up with a list for you. This is more my own, weird, eclectic, peripatetic, wandering, willful way of going about building a mystery series.

Some topics will be:
1 - Where Do I Begin? How I start when I'm planning a series.
2 - Character. How do I decide who my protagonist will be, as well as peopling the world.
3 - Place. Where to set the series?
4 - Will It Fit? Do all of the aforementioned things work for the kind of mystery I'm planning?

And anything else I think of as I'm going along.

If you have any questions, chime in!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Companion Pieces

I've enthused on and on about my perfect teapot, and I'm still getting a kick out of it, and the 'sweater' (cozy) I crocheted for it. But this summer I also was on the hunt for a nice sugar and cream to go with it. I've been using a melamine sugar bowl that just felt too 'summery' and picnicky, if you know what I mean.

I had some guidelines: the sugar was most important, so it had to be perfect. The creamer, not so much, since I rarely use it; unless I have company, I usually use milk out of the fridge for my tea. I don't care for matchy-matchy, so I didn't really care about a set. Vintage was preferable, but I had to love them both. I'm cheap, so I didn't want to pay a lot.

That last bit is why I didn't end up buying the cream and sugar I really love, which is a vintage Pyrex Snowflake set, hard to find, even online, and horribly expensive if it comes complete with the sugar lid. By horribly expensive I mean twenty plus dollars, plus shipping. That's pricey, to my cheap li'l ole heart. 

 Anyway, I found both a cream and sugar at an antique mall, the sugar is vintage (I believe) but the cream isn't... not really. They are not a set, but I think it all looks kinda pretty 'shabby chic-ish' together.

So, the sugar is a vintage piece with no markings... I just love the colors and the shape. It was five dollars, cheap at twice the price! Not! I like it, but I wouldn't have paid more than that fiver.

If you look in the photo, you can see one of my cats peering over the edge of the picnic table at it, wondering why I'm not letting him up on the table! LOL.

The creamer I got was only two dollars, and it is Wedgwood Tigerlily! Amazing... this piece is worth ten times more than I paid, and that's the kind of math I love.

So... do you prefer 'sets'... things that match? Or do you, like me, have kind of oddball tastes and like variety?
This last photo is just because she's cute... my friend's cat, and I call the photo 'Reba Wants Cheese' because that's what she's beggin for!!

Happy September, everyone!!