Somehow Maggie Toussaint survived her Mary Poppins reenactment of jumping off the carport with an umbrella and of riding horses in sleeping bags as a preteen. She applied her acrobatic skills to mystery writing and has been juggling plots ever since. A friend to animals, Maggie’s motto is “Seas the Day,” which is coincidentally the title of her newest culinary cozy release. This book demanded to be written after the “Trouble with Horses” appeared in the Trouble with Cupid short story anthology. Learn more about Maggie and her books at her website.
Is Writing an Art or a Science?
Welcome, everyone. I hope you’re staying safe from the virus and encouraging your loves ones to do the same. Seems like more and more of my time is dedicated to survival tactics. I, for one, am thankful for stores that have hours just for seniors early in the morning.
With that said, the weight of the pandemic is hard to escape, even if you have a book to write or to launch. I’ve been focusing on completing a list of tasks each day because that helps me stay on track. I hope you’ve found ways to deal with any stress our global situation may be causing you.
So, on to my topic for the day. It is always a heated discussion when writers who go strictly by an outline meet up with writers who go with the flow to discuss plotting. Each is sure there way is great, and it is to them.
Not all writers are alike, same thing for readers. We need the space and freedom to do things our way and in our own good time. My personal journey led me to combine the two methods, though I have written using both styles of plotting before.
It worried me that my composition style changed, but I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was in the 1990s when I was first starting out. Further, the world has changed in 25 years. So I want to reach out to others who worry about change in any aspect of their life and encourage you to re-navigate how you do things. I’ve had to do that often in my writing career.
For me, I need a framework to have that sense of structure and purpose, but I also need the freedom to let scenes and characters go where they may. In that way, writing is both an art and a science to me.
I’ve always been drawn to creative projects, and yes, I still own a big box of crayons (for my grandkids is what I tell everyone). Arts and crafts are a lifelong hobby of mine, and I’ve enjoyed embroidery, counted cross stitch, sewing clothes, reupholstering chairs, and more in the Fabric Arts category. My collection of gel pens for adult coloring keeps calling my name, so I need to get those out again. My grandkids love to do arts and crafts, too. Last year we made tie-dyed shirts, and that was so much fun.
Music is another favorite means of self-expression for me. I sing in a church choir and occasionally play my guitar. I love music almost as much as I love reading and writing. So now we’re back to the Literary Arts. I love it when an author’s style rises above the pages and stays with me. When that happens, I know the author is a true literary artist.
The scientist in me always tries to analyze how they achieved that effect. I often reread books and try to take the craft apart. It always works out that the sum is greater than the whole, as in no matter how you break it down, you can’t treat it like a scientific experiment because often the “it” factor is the art of how the author used their words.
So for me, writing is both an art and a science; further, in looking at how I manage each day, I see a similar pattern. I have a to-do list but it doesn’t matter how and when things get accomplished for the most part. By using creativity in daily activities, I stay inspired for writing.
Seas the Day is the title of my new book, and in my seaside lifestyle, I embrace the coastal atmosphere every day. I hope you’ll try this new cozy culinary mystery that I consider a work of art.
Seas the Day
A Seafood Caper Mystery, Book 1
Caterer River Holloway has talents beyond her to-die-for cooking. She is also known among friends and family on Shell Island as a “finder” of things. Which is why a desperate mother begs River to track down her grown son, Chili Bolz, who’s seemingly vanished.
Deputy Lance Hamlyn, a newcomer to Shell Island, has hit a dead-end in trying to locate the missing man. Familiar with River’s reputation, he attempts to team up with her, hoping that her inside track with the locals might aid his investigation. But the simple missing person case begins to boil over into something far more frightening when Chili’s mother falls victim to a brutal assault. Worse, her dying words to River seem to incriminate more than one of River’s friends in both kidnapping and, now, murder.
While Deputy Hamlyn conducts the formal criminal investigation, River uses her time between catering events to do some sleuthing of her own. Her efforts are hampered by the unexpected return of her absentee boyfriend, who has his own reasons for wanting her to stay safely in the kitchen. With the number of suspects growing longer than her food shopping list, River soon finds herself caught in an unsavory recipe for disaster. She must locate the missing Chili and discover who killed his mother before her own goose is quite literally cooked!