I recently got a fan email in which the writer said, “ I'm interested in writing a mystery strictly for fun”.
Anyone who thinks it’s fun to write any kind of novel should be disabused of that notion right now. Writing is hard work. Research might be fun. But even that, depending on what you’re digging for, can become difficult. But writing fun? Never.
Sure there are those days when everything goes right and I feel ecstatic. But I never say to myself, gee I had fun at the keyboard this morning.
What one produces might be fun to read. If you’re writing a novel that intends to be fun and succeeds, that’s a bonus. But that novel took work. It might look easy and breezy (and that’s credit to the writer) but it’s never easy and breezy to write.
A produced playwright once said to me, “I love mystery novels and I think I’m going to write one so I can give back something after all these years of reading pleasure.”
Have you ever heard anything more arrogant? Well, yes, I have, too, but that’s right up there. Incidently he never wrote a novel. This was a case of a writer thinking he could write in any form because he’s a writer. I’m sure he’d never be that cavalier about writing a play. But a mystery novel is just so much fun because it’s not really writing, is it? It’s fun.
Guess what. It really is writing. And to write a novel you have to want to do it more than anything. You have to know that it’s hard work and takes discipline.
Some of the finest writing I’ve ever read is in mysteries and crime novels. It doesn’t matter what kind of novel you set out to write…it’s damn hard.