Monday, August 11, 2014

MY THREE-LEGGED STOOL OF WRITING



MY THREE-LEGGED STOOL OF WRITING by Karla Stover

Puget Sound has a lot of mystery writers—writing is a good thing to do when it rains—and, for years, I went to meetings of the Mystery Writers of America. They were well-attended and exciting. Then, one of the writers decided people who hadn’t been published by MWA-approved-publishers should be banned. Now, if 20 people attend, it’s a good turnout. However, during the heyday of smooshing with Ann Rule and Earl Emerson, I learned about the three-legged stool:  characters, setting, and action, and giving equal space to each. 

I am currently editing Tahuya Daze (ta-who-ya) the second of my Puget Sound Mysteries, which takes place on Hood Canal. At the book’s beginning, the heroine, Mercedes, comments on madrona trees. They’re unique to the Pacific Northwest. Supposedly, Captain George Vancouver thought their color was like that of strawberries, but then, he’d been at sea for a long time.

Goeducks are also indigenous here. Halfway through the book, Mercedes goes over to the Skokomish Indian Reservation and sees one of these. For those interested, they’re very hard to dig and the skin peels off the neck. (Not to be crude, but it is similar to removing a condom). Ground up goeduck necks and breasts make great chowder. On the TV show, dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe visited a goeduck farm and dug one up. Sadly, he broke its shell, a big no-no.

Since my book takes place in July, my husband and I have been photographing. When Mercedes is captured by the bad guy and forced to walk through some clear-cut land on the hills above the canal.

I remember reading Phyllis Whitney’s books, each of  which took place in a different country. As someone on Goodreads wrote, “Her novels are set in interesting locales that often become a character themselves.”
Not everyone in my critique group likes the three-legged stool: too many people and too much physical “stuff”. I, however, want a sense of place and an opportunity to know the characters. Aren’t well all lucky there’s no right answer?


I tried very hard to make this blog pretty and to have the photographs next to the appropriate paragraph. Unfortunately, it didn't work.  Thanks for any comments you care to make. Karla
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