Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Psych Me Out!

I have read three books in the past few weeks that I've just adored: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane and Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. They're all very different books, although I suppose you could argue that Shutter Island and Heartsick are both mystery/thrillers, but one is a contemporary creepy serial killer book that takes place in Portland and the other is a 1950s mystery that takes place somewhere outside of Boston.

What actually connects the books is that they're both very psychologically intriguing. What actually happens in the books isn't all that interesting, what it means to the people in the books is FASCINATING.

I'm almost done outlining my new book. I want to make it as psychologically complex and layered and intriguing as those three books. It's not all about plot twists and surprises, although those are definitely there, it's about something deeper and truer.

Wish me luck!


Molly O'Keefe said...

Dennis Lehane is painfully good at throwing his characters in the dumpster - he makes things so so awful for them that his books/movies are hard to watch/read.

But you know - Dennis Lehane has time to think. Lots of time to tie the little knots that make the big knots that bring two opposing characters/plot points in alignment. The stuff he does - I feel - Isn't stuff that can be done while writing - some of it, sure. But the majority of that intense twisting of screws - has to be a product of lots and lots of thinking.

And I feel like lots and lots of thinking is a rarity and a luxury that half the time we just don't get or take.

Take your time, Eileen - as much as you can. You'll twist those screws and find the hidden dumpsters.

Maureen McGowan said...

Good for you for pushing yourself, Eileen. I can't wait. This is an Eileen Carr book, right?

Tomorrow, debut thriller writer Chevy Stevens is going to do a guest blog. Her book is all about the psych stuff, too. About what happens during and then after something horrible. Not your typical thriller.

Eileen said...

Ooh, Maureen, that sounds perfect. It's exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking about these days.

Sinead M said...

Wow, Eileen, those sound like wonderful books. I read and loved Mystic River, and have heard of Heartsick.

I will have to pick up all three. I love books that make me want to be a better writer.

Eileen said...

I was interested in Shutter Island once I saw the trailers for the movie. The book I'm working on deals with a reform school and I wanted to see how Lehane created that kind of creepy atmosphere in his book. Or even if he did. I was NOT disappointed. He really is an amazing writer. Even when he's over-the-top violent for me (not so much in Shutter Island, but in some other books of his that I've read), I've got to respect the man's craft.

I resisted reading Heartsick. It's another creepy serial killer book and frankly, so many of them seem the same. This one had tons of buzz about it, though, and it knocked my socks off. The way Cain delves into people's reactions and motivations was fabulous. She leaves her creepiest character as a cipher, and that was okay with me. I didn't want to sympathize with her.

The Lace Reader is just a big gorgeous emotional women's fiction book. I figured out the big twist about halfway through, but Barry had more in store for me. I'm making my mother read it right now. :-)

susanhatler said...

Good luck, Eileen. May your come out fast and sweet (and psychologically complex).

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