by Kristine Coblitz
As writers, we all have those real-life crime stories that hit home for us, whether it's a crime that happened to us personally, to someone in our family, or perhaps even within the community where we live. For some of us, those experiences and stories are what prompted us to become crime writers in the first place.
For me, there are a few news stories that have really touched me. I have the clippings in a file folder. I don't know whether or not they'll actually make it into a book plot or story, but I know they are there. Often times, I'll open the file folder and look through it as a way to connect with why writing crime fiction is so important and meaningful to me. Reading about these crimes, most of which have never been solved, reinforces in me a sense of purpose. I write crime fiction to make sense of a world that doesn't offer simple answers.
Sometimes the story is too fresh for us to write about. Lately, I've been researching a murder that happened nearly 15 years ago. I always knew I'd write about it, but I was too close. It happened to a friend of mine. Only now do I feel I can explore it in my fiction objectively.
Let's face it. What we do is difficult. Spending time in the underworld exploring murder and crafting believable villains is not easy. No wonder such a high percentage of writers suffer from depression and anxiety. Writing about the dark side is not for the faint of heart. But for those of us who find it to be our true calling, it's a task we accept because it's our job. It's our place in the world and our purpose.
When a writer is able to pull it off, it can be pure magic.
Let us celebrate our calling as writers. It's a special gift, one that needs nurturing and (as we all know) is rarely appreciated by outsiders who don't understand the power of language or why we'd rather sit at our computer within our fictional world than go to a movie or talk about the latest celebrity scandal.
How will you embrace your gift and make the most of it today?