Finished my paranormal for National Novel Writing Month last night - what a relief. The last few days were really grinding because I had this other mystery idea that must be written disturbing my peace of mind. Now, I can let NaNoWriMo go for another year and work on the mystery. This one will be a contemporary, since I'm hoping to sell my other historical mysteries to Cerridwen Press: http://www.cerridwenpress.com and pursue another angle.
It is interesting to me how the market changes and even individual tastes change. I read a lot of mysteries and never thought of them as specific kinds, e.g. cozy, hard-boiled, or whatever. But lately, I've realized that there are a lot of mysteries and thrillers out there which are stepping way over the line for me. They are putting things and images in my head which I don't want there. This surprises me, because I love shoot-'em up, bang-bang movies and thought I didn't mind violence, but actually...I do. I don't mind Bruce Willis violence, but I can't "do" the "Saw" stuff, and I can't "do" a lot of thrillers coming out. I don't want images of rape or torture in my head. Give me a nice, clean shot between the eyes, and I'm good with that. Torture...not so much.
Which brings me to my contemporary mystery and thoughts of classification. Because I don't think of what I read or want to write as "cozy". Are Jonathan Gash's wonderful Lovejoy mysteries cozy? Lindsey Davis' fantastic Falco mysteries cozy? I don't know. People get hurt, get beaten up, but it's cool. The characters pick themselves up, brush off, rinse the blood out of their mouth, and move on (unless, of course, they are the murder victim). I also adore the new line of mysteries from Hard Case - the old hard-boiled detective stories where people get beaten up all the time--but there's no gore, really.
Am I going to yet again write things that are "old fashioned" or (blech) cozy because I don't like the rape/torture realism of todays mysteries and thrillers? Will publishers turn me away, yet again, because my stuff is not "realistic" enough? It is very possible. The mystery I have in mind is definitely going to be humorous. In fact, that's why I'm so anxious to write it--because if I can push my characters into wacky situations that push them to the limit--I love it. I love writing it. But does anyone like reading it?
I hope so. Stephanie Bond seems to be making a pretty darn good career from humorous mystery/romances. I'm not so interested in the romance angle, although there will probably be one, but humorous mystery--sure. What's mystery without a sense of humor? A lot of depression and images stuck in your head you don't particularly want.
Well, be that as it may, tonight is the big night. I start on a contemporary mystery. Wish me luck!