A friend recently shared an image on Facebook that made me laugh. It was a picture of a not-quite-closed door with a caption that was something to the effect of how a normal person would see that and just think, “Oh, the door to the garage didn’t get closed all the way” and a writer thinks, “Oh, no! The door to the garage didn’t get closed all the way! Maybe someone slipped under the other door while it was closing and they’re waiting to kill me now!” (That’s not the exact wording, but you get the point.)
But after laughing, I started thinking. For a mystery or suspense writer, I think there’s just a little bit of truth to that. While I’m not paranoid and don’t allow fear to paralyze me into staying locked up at home all the time, I do think I tend to see potential danger where other people just see…nothing.
I can come home from a night out and see killers or rapists lurking in the dark as I go from the car to the house. If my car makes a strange noise on a lonely country road, I see some big guy in a big truck coming along to “help” me (thanks for that one, Stephen King!). I take innocent things like a limo parked in front of a house and turn it into some odd thing like someone’s using the limo to lure women away to be sold into human slavery. Yeah, my mind doesn’t work like a normal person’s anymore, I think.
Of course, as I said, this doesn’t leave me unable to function. I know, as I walk from my car to my house in the dark or when my car breaks down (as it did just recently), that there’s really no danger. The biggest danger in wandering my yard at night would be the possums, bears, foxes, and armadillos that think my home is also theirs. Anyone who offered me assistance with my car would almost certainly be a nice person who truly wants to help. I know these things.
But there’s definitely that little twist to the way my mind works. I find myself wondering, though – is that the result of the fact that I write suspense/mystery? Or do I write what I write because of that little twist?
It’s definitely something to think about, I think.