A peculiar thing happens to writers. Not immediately, you understand. But as we learn our craft and smooth the rough spots, the rhythms of writing start to become second nature. Then, suddenly, we find ourselves unable to read fiction or watch a movie without applying every tidbit we've gleaned from myriad how-to books, magazine articles, workshops, and conferences.
This may not seem like a big thing, but for me, the phenomenon comes close to obsessive. Imagine a family member's reaction when I groan about a story I'm reading: "Why did the author do that? It's not in character!" Or I turn and smile knowingly at my husband: "Did you see the way the screenwriter used foreshadowing?" or "Right there--that was the second turning point!"
But this is not a bad thing. The very fact that we as writers recognize the structure, symbolism, and end intent of another's work proves that we are growing--absorbing the sweat equity of those who have clawed their way to the top of the cliff and hoisted themselves over. A reward, if you will.
Every craft has its weirdness, and it takes a certain amount of "hermit-ness" to stay the course. But behind the drive to become published, a thought hovers in the back of every writer's mind as he or she reads a bestseller or watches a great movie--I can do this.
And do it, we do. At a full gallop! Romance and horses? You bet--horse people fall in love just like everyone else. And it takes a special kind of person to understand and absorb the routine and the dedication to caring for our beloved horses. Perhaps taking a backseat to this passion is the true test of a prospective suitor's mettle!
Horses and mystery. What a fabulous combination of forces that opens up endless possibilities for intrigue; suspense and edge-of-your-seat thrillers flourish in high-stakes areas of the horse industry. Just look at Dick Francis. Think those are only mysteries? Not on your spurs! I held my breath through every one of his books, always too close to the danger.
Add to these genres any one of the many issues that horse owners face and you have unique plots and characters that appeal to even the reader with only a passing interest in horses.
We write horse fiction because we love horses, we have to write, and we believe the two are a match made in heaven.
Tell us--what are your favorite romance, mystery, or thriller plots where horses reign? (no pun intended) What did you love? What "caught" you and held you captive through the story?
Until next time, keep those heels down.