Cara Black (b. November 14): “I’m an eavesdropper” & other quotes on writing

14 Nov

Cara Black, born 14 November 1951, is a best-selling American mystery writer best known for her Aimée Léduc novels featuring a female Paris-based private investigator.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Write what you are passionate about – that’s the best advice I ever received.
  2. I wanted to tell a story. Crime fiction is a great framework, a structure to hang a story.
  3. Research is the BEST part of my job. It means I must go to Paris, as I tell my husband.
  4. I’m an eavesdropper, bad habit, but invaluable in my line of work. I think writers do that all the time. 
  5. The past informs the present. Memory makes the map we carry, no matter how hard we try to erase it.
  6. To me a gripping story is about the characters, how crime impacts them; the victim’s world and forensics and technology are tools. 
  7. Maybe mysteries help us deal with the frustration and unresolved situations we encounter in daily life. When I read a mystery I like to experience some sense that justice is served. Not that all the loose ends are tied up but that good in some form triumphs.
  8. A line of dialogue or a mannerism can put a character onto the page. The challenge is to keep the character speaking more dialogue, being memorable and intrinsic to the plot and storyline. Especially in crime fiction and mysteries, everything happens for a reason, every detail could be a clue, a red herring, a false lead or a key to a sub plot and a suspect.
  9. I like to think that Paris is a character in my books. Sense of place, that unique part of Paris that speaks to me drives the story. Paris is really a collection of villages, twenty arrondissements or districts that each have a flavour. I try to think why crime would occur here in this quartier of Paris, what crime would happen here, who lives here, what is the distinct taste of this quartier of Paris and then the story comes
  10. My writing group meets twice a month and we critique each other’s work in progress. I’m an equal member and receive comments like everyone else. I’m always looking to make my story better. It’s important to listen to the comments, take what makes sense or would make the story clearer, deepen or enhance it. Or even delve more into the character, strengthen what would be more organic to the plot. If several people make the same comments, I listen.


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