Dying to Get Published: A Comic Mystery That Might Be the Secret Fantasy of Every Writer
Many writers are Dying to Get Published. Mystery novelist Jennifer Marsh has decided that she'll commit murder for it.
A Perfect Plan to Get Published
Jennifer has eight unpublished manuscripts gathering dust in her closet. And piles of rejection letters for all but the one she just finished this week. When she sees an author on Oprah who shot to best seller status by being accused of murder and exonerated, she hatches her zany plan.
She does have a few criteria for her victim. It has to be someone so heinous that the world will be a better place without them. And their death should be symbolic to all the struggling writers who will never find greatness because of the arbitrary whims of someone reading the slush pile.
She'll also have to figure out the perfect alibi so that she too can be found innocent and go on to fortune and fame.
Jennifer finds the perfect victim. An author's agent who makes a career of destroying the hearts, souls and ambitions of aspiring writers.
But when that agent is found dead, Jennifer, a vegetarian and dog lover who can't kill a spider, let alone a human, realizes that she's framed herself for the murder.
Have you ever had your writing rejected?
As a writer who's faced my own share of rejection letters, I felt an immediate kinship with Jennifer. Oh don't worry, agents, I won't be coming after you.
Actually, the worst rejection in my life was from a fellow author in a critique group. There was absolutely nothing he liked about my story. He hated the premise, he thought my main character was a spoiled brat. He ranted for pages about what a lousy writer I was. Ouch!
I made one or two changes based on his suggestions, but this is the same story that prompted a personal letter from Marion Zimmer Bradley. It was way too long to be included in her Sword & Sorceress collection, but she said she loved and she couldn't think of a single word to remove. You can get a free copy of Nenfari here.
Characters With Quirk
I also loved the interactions with Jennifer's writer's group. I'm pretty sure I've been in that group!
Readers who want a serious procedural or a hard-boiled detective novel might not like this one. It's a light-hearted romp that doesn't take itself seriously from page one.
The characters are wacky yet well drawn and heart-warming.
Jennifer herself, is a bit unhinged. She carries on a dialogue with Jamie (a purposely gender-neutral name) her unborn egg which might someday be conceived. When she needs to figure out how to do something to further her plans, such as pick a lock or get past a guard, she bases her answer on what one of her characters would do. Unfortunately, she finds that picking a lock isn't as easy as typing, "the bolt slid back."
My favorite character besides Jennifer herself is Emma Walker, an eccentric elderly woman who carries a viscous shoe-attacking mutt (they think it's a dog, but no one's sure) in her purse and is far deeper than you'd first think. When Jennifer is accused of the murder, Emma rallies her troop of bridge club ladies to come to her defense.
Mystery readers, if you enjoy a bit of whimsey and fun, then Dying to Get Published is the perfect novel to brighten a rainy day or laugh over a good cup of tea. Just, please, fellow writers, don't let this inspire you to actually plot the murder of an agent or editor. ;)
© 2014 Lionrhod