I just watched Charlaine Harris’ keynote speech “Mystery Writers are Always Hot” on Sisters in Crime Palmetto Chapter’s Mystery in the Midlands conference online, which they kindly opened up to anyone around the country to attend for free. And WOW, what an uplifting presence she is. I even got my question answered first on the chat! I asked about writing a single POV versus ensemble like the Midnight, Texas series. She also spoke of the challenges of writing with “Covid Brain.” When asked if she’s a plotter, a panster, or a flashlighter (which neither she nor I was totally certain about the definition of, although I had some idea), she said she’s definitely a panster. “When I sit down and write ‘page one, chapter one’, I have no idea what’s going to happen. Other than somebody’s gonna die. Or maybe a lot of people!” she said with a laugh.

But I think what spoke most to me was her saying “dare to take the challenge of writing the book in your heart, not the one you’ve already read.” She emphasized uniqueness as being the key factor in books she’s read that stick with her, that are memorable. If they are written to a formula, they’re forgettable.

“I think everyone wants to know who done it, why done it, or how done it.” And other than that, make it yours.

Thank you Charlaine. You’ve made me want to continue machete-ing my way through final edits on my multiple POV (one of which is a horse) why-done-it mystery paranormal suspense.

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