If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Overlooking The Obvious--Again


In January, I wrote a blog with the same title. In that blog, I pointed out that animal cruelty is an indicator of future violence and many killers start out by killing animals. Few writers have taken advantage of that correlation. But I’m happy to report that Linda Reilly did not overlook that fact in her soon to be released novel SOME ENCHANTED MURDER. On May 8th, I’ll interview her.

There are other ways that people overlook the obvious. I remember my first pregnancy. The obstetrician talked about all the problems women encountered while pregnant. I wondered during her discourse what those problems had to do with me. Had she looked at my chart and applied her knowledge to me? She must have wanted to give a lecture that day and waste my time. I had none of those problems during my pregnancies. She overlooked the obvious—my health, my medical history—me.  

While renovating my kitchen, a granite installer came to my home to get measurements for cutting the stone. One filler was missing, which I knew he probably would use as an excuse to delay cutting and installing my stone. When I told him how the filler would be placed, he proceeded to cite other kitchens in which fillers were improperly placed and insisted that I was making an assumption I couldn’t make. All of my kitchen cabinets and fillers were properly installed and in place for him to see. He overlooked the obvious and made a negative assumption based on other jobs, not by the workmanship demonstrated in my kitchen that was in 3-D around him.

People generalize when facts are apparent and interpret the present through their mental or emotional filters. I’ve come across this phenomena numerous times over the years. Perhaps experience is such a great teacher it overrides the present. We anticipate trouble where none is evident. We overlook the facts while letting the past invade or our emotions to dominate.  

When ordering tile, I overlooked the obvious. Wall tile is ¾ inch thick. My wall started with crown molding that had a ¼ inch thickness. I needed tile that transitioned from ¼ to ¾ inch. In my case, lack of experience attributed to my overlooking the obvious. But it was right there in front of me. I failed to see it and the requirement it presented.

My readers won’t be surprised when my main character demonstrates the same fallacy. She’s smart and savvy, but she is overlooking the obvious and will be surprised because she fails to interpret reality. Based on her priorities, which she assumes to be the same priorities of her significant other, and on his past history, she fails to grasp all the indicators. The surprise will smack her, cause her to doubt herself--but she’ll recover, get even and solve the case, one-upping him.

What defects have you given your characters? Even experts overlook the obvious and fail to apply their knowledge to specific situations. Will readers sympathize or will they think your character a fool? Will failing give your characters the jolt of reality they need to solve the case?      

10 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Having interviewed my main character, you know he has flaws – although he might not agree to the extent of them, he knows (and is reminded by facts and circumstances) that he is flawed. I hope all my characters have some flaws.

I would have sympathy for your granite guy’s point of view, however. You are making an assumption. You are assuming the filler will be done just as expertly as the rest – and yet, perhaps the guy has experiences where in just such a circumstance the junior guy on the crew was sent out for the “last piece – how could he screw up” and yet he did – or in the manufacturing process they milled that piece incorrectly. And maybe he had been burned and lost a ton of money.

But heck, if you two didn’t disagree there would be no conflict in the scene, and ever writer knows without conflict, the story’s a bore!

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

But doesn't every main character have to have flaws so that he/she can change? A character arch is a requirement, isn't it?

Sympathy? No way--they guy lacked judgment and at very least was impolite. You don't go into a carpentry contractor's house and cut down the carpentry. I'm happy to report that there were no issues with laying the granite, and it looks beautiful. I'm pinching myself--like this has to be someone else's kitchen.

Gloria Alden said...

I try to give my characters some flaws, maybe because I write cozies not as big as those who write edgier books.

As for your experiences with the guys working on your kitchen, when my son was remodeling my house after I bought the pathetic old thing, he often sent me for materials at a lumber company. I'd get so annoyed when the clerks always waited first on the men standing there even though they were only buying a few things while I had an order for materials that were in the hundreds of dollars that needed delivered. Once when I finally got waited on, I told him what I thought of their sexism.

E. B. Davis said...

Lumber yards are notorious, Gloria. My husband has sent me to pick up materials, and I've been given that treatment, too. Once they understand who my husband is, then they cooperate, but that doesn't quite help. The funny thing is that in the building business, many times it is the women who run the businesses while the men are out in the field so women are very much a part of the business, but their contribution isn't given weight.

I've often thought of cozy main characters as being fairy-tale like because they are everything that they are supposed to be, like on Murder She Wrote.

Warren Bull said...

Sherlock Holmes in the original stories had few or no flaws. He remained unchanged (except for when he "died") throughout. In modern reinterpretations he has several flaws, which make him more interesting. I'm glad your tile work came out well.

E. B. Davis said...

I have to admit, I've read few Sherlock Holmes novels, Warren, but I thought he was a cocaine addict? Perhaps it was the writer? I'm so confused, but I think that is a flaw by Doyle. By today's standards if you want to keep readers--the character has to evolve.

PS--it wasn't tile, it was granite. We have to wait for the tile man. He had an emergency this weekend. His teenage daughter ran off with the MS-13 gang in his area. His family is from El Salvador. Yes, my problems in renovation pale to his so we will wait. I hope he found her, dragged her home and didn't get killed.

Gloria Alden said...

Wow, E.B. It's not easy raising teenagers. Your poor contractor. Of course, you've read about the 6 kids killed in an accident in my area - there were 8 kids in one SUV when it flipped over into a pond.

Yes, Holmes was a cocaine or heroin addict. He's much more likable in the Laurie R. King Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for confirming my notion about Holmes, Gloria. No. I hadn't heard about the kids from your area.

We have a "situation" in my community that has gained metro attention. A kid broke into a house after partying. He lived two doors down. The homeowner shot him dead after the kid broke into his home, in all probability so stoned and/or drunk he thought he had broken into his own home. A three-season athlete. The community is devastated. The homeowner, a local volunteer firefighter.

A horror of errors.

Linda R said...

An excellent post, E.B. I was afraid I'd made my main character a "goody two shoes," so I hope readers will see that she really does have flaws.

E. B. Davis said...

I can only assume, Linda, that you're writing a cozy. Although I love cozies, often the character arch is flat. In your next book, try having her overlook the obvious (which of course won't be obvious to readers either) and later realizing what she overlooked. At least readers will see her as human. Thanks for dropping by.