I have started reading another Wilkie Collins novel No Name. I am so intrigued by how well Collins builds characters and suspense. I have learned quite a bit from his writing and am grateful for his skill as well as his stories—which, frankly, are just hard to put down. While it is difficult to stomach some of the Victorian era values, Collins’ writing still wrestles with the stuff I like to wrestle with—injustice, the inconstancies (great Victorian word, yes?) of the human character, mercy, hope and justice.
Because of my reading of Wilkie Collins, Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, John Grisham and my constant intrigue with good television mysteries, I think my next journey in novel writing will be my first attempt at a mystery. So, how about a mystery buried in the time of Ancient Israel and the early decades of the Mosaic Law?
As I’ve read and discovered, it does take far more preparation to build a mystery than it does to approach, say perhaps, a fantasy novel where I make up the rules. So, the character charts and timelines are already being built and revised as the days go by. I do enjoy a good mental puzzle, so I hope that I can at least give a courageous stab at this genre.
In the meantime, the never-ceasing stream of short stories rolls through my brain. Short stories are such good exercises for novels. They really force an author to render down the details and settings, much like a good sauce. The elements then become more potent and powerful. But they are more than just a means to an end. They are delights in and of themselves.
Copyright M.R. Hyde 2015