"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Monday, January 05, 2015

Trash Planting

It started around Thanksgiving. I ate one thing then another until I found myself thinking about goodies and where I could find them. After that, everywhere I went, there were sugary, fat laden foods to feast on. So I ate and ate and (one more) ate until my waistbands groaned in agony. Of course, that could have been the sound of my skin stretching.

Eww, right? 

It was about a week before our Christmas break, after I threw away three empty candy bar wrappers that someone had gifted me, or I stole, (I don't know) that I began wondering what the custodian thought of all the junky wrappers and paper plates that had been filling up my trashcan, daily.

Vanity seems to be my harasser. I know this about myself. Even though I was being bad by eating everything in sight (none of which were fruits and veggies), I didn’t want to look bad.

So I contemplated on how not to leave evidence of my gluttony, you know, as if I were not binging on sweets, dips, cheeses and sausage. I wanted to continue enjoying the bounty. 

Could I:
  • Carry the stuff in my hand and not use a plate (omitting the evidence).
  • Eat only candies with no wrappers (evidence).
  • Use tissue, instead of napkins, to wipe the sugar and chocolate substances from my face, but blow (or act like I did) my nose before tossing it in the trash (red herring).
  • Throw my wrappers and/or plates in the trashcans of teachers who were on break (red herring).
  • Eat the stuff where the food was offered and throw the trash in with everyone else’s (contaminated evidence).  
  • Set up my own bag inside the trash bag provided me, then smuggle it out in my own car, and when I went home dump it in my dumpster (scattering evidence). OR
  • Not eat the junk in the first place, which didn’t happen (leaving no evidence at all because there wouldn't be any).  
Thinking back, because of vanity, I wanted to control the custodian's thoughts toward me and pretend I didn’t eat the holiday goodies in excess. 

Of course, I ended up not doing any of those things, but I did in the process think about how my desperate creative ways to disguise my trash output is a lot like writing a mystery. 

As I mentioned, I've been restructuring Mona’s book. I’m figuring out where I need to insert clues, false leads all the while hoping hoping the reader is somewhat surprised. I want them to fish for red herrings, but when they pull in the line—no fishy. 

Evidence can be placed carelessly, with motive or any number of ways, but it needs to be believable. By the end of the book, I want the reader to honesty say, I didn’t see that coming, and I like it. 

Need help with deceit, or I like to call clue trash planting? Read these helpful articles.

Using your words to steer in Three Tips for Creating Evocative Prose by Janice Hardy

Don’t Drop Clues; Place them Carefully by Stephen Rogers talks about the types of clues and misdirecting them.  

How did Agatha Christie do it? The Christie Mystery will tell you in Clues and Red Herrings.

On another note, Millie and I had a great Christmas holiday with our family. She behaved, wasn't too overwhelmed and enjoyed her gifts. I saw two movies (without Millie): Big Hero 6 with 3 out of 4 grand babes and Into the Woods with Dr. Lovely Daughter. They were both great movies. 

I want to apologize for the horrible formatting here. Not my fault. I'm on my last nerve with Blogger formatting. 

Did you have any fun during the holidays? 

14 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear Millie was a good girl for Christmas and that you had a nice time with Dr. Lovely. :) I had quite a lot of candy over the holidays, too...I think it's all gone now. If the kids have any, they should hide it.

    I obsess over clues, I have to admit. I'm not naturally a strategic thinker, so I put more time into clues than anything else. When I'm done, I think, "That was fun!" But it wasn't really fun...I'm just relieved it's over. :)

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  2. Ha! Oh, I love all your options for not LOOKING like you ate all the snacks. Too funny. And yes, a good list to have on hand as to what can happen to mystery evidence...

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  3. Funny! Hey, a little excess over the holidays is all right. You just have to stop eating that way when it's over.

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  4. haha the trash man probably didn't even care after all of that. But always fun to let the mind go as it is like writing a mystery indeed

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  5. As I was reading the post I was thinking that you'd make a good mystery writer. Welcome back!

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  6. No sugar is the way I am going. And I started during December (the worst time, right?)

    Pat is right: the trash man was probably worried about the extra mounds of trash from everyone during the holidays!

    Thanks for the links: I'm dropping clues in my latest right now. Just think if we typed our books on a typewriter? Groan. We'd have to re-write the whole thing over and over again as we thought of neat new twists to our tales!!

    Happiest of New Years! Thanks for dropping over and chatting. :-)

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  7. I had loads of fun! I think you did, too :)
    Hugs to Millie!

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  8. And here I thought sugar was the main formula for enjoying the holidays. Sounds like you had fun. Glad Millie was a good girl.

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  9. You are HILARIOUS!!!!!!!! We ate a lot too. I made cookies and devoured them. Did you see that meme on Facebook that said something like, 'and what to my very eyes did appear, but ten pounds on hips, thighs and rear?' hahahahaha So true.

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  10. Hi Teresa .. I sure try and stay clear of sweeties .. but sometimes they come looking for me .. sad really!! Glad to see Millie is growing up and enjoying life with her Journaling Woman .. lovely you were able to get to the movies to see some films. It's just nice being family and having that time together ... cheers and Have a very happy 2015 - Hilary

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  11. Trash planting is an interesting way of thinking of the concept of clues.

    I didn't think much about what I ate over the holidays--business as usual for me. What the heck! Might as well indulge some and not feel the guilt. Like not feeling guilt is possible? I guess that's why someone came up with the dumb idea of New Year's Resolutions.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  12. I was the same way over the holidays, and now I'm making up for it *groan*. Been meaning to get back into better shape anyway.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year! :)

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  13. Great analogy. Throughout, though, I was thinking it's highly unlikely the custodian even notices the wrappers! Which just reminded me of how often we spend time worrying about what others think of us when most people are too self-absorbed to think much about us!

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  14. So funny, TPC! I'd have opted for stashing the evidence in the trashcans of teachers on break! LOL! I think that good writers plant "evidence" in their books for what comes later, whatever the genre! Have a happy day!

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