Recently I needed to move parts of one chapter to another section of a mystery book I’m writing. I realized as I completed the task how easy it is to make these changes with a computer.
I’m old enough to remember typewriters. Does that sound like a strange statement? Remember, many of our younger readers don’t know about typewriters and are growing up in the age of technology.
And no, I’m not about to tell you that I still write everything on an old typewriter that I’ve had in my family for years. Of course I mean no disrespect to the writers who write on one of these machines. Instead I will tell you that I love my computer.
I have a small laptop computer called a netbook that weighs next to nothing and goes anywhere I go. It snuggles against me when I carry it and has become a good friend. I can turn it on at a moment’s notice to capture my thoughts. I can save multiple versions of these thoughts and I can edit my writing as many times as I want without having to retype entire pages. I can change styles and fonts and I can italicize, superscript, underline and even bold with the click of a button.
Of course as a mystery lover I started to think about my netbook in a different way. The computer is a wonderful instrument for committing a crime. It’s so much easier to perform evil deeds and even a murder with a computer.
Here is what I mean when I call it an evil and murderous tool. I can add a character to my story and then if I don’t like what they are doing or how they are acting I hit the delete button. They are gone-eliminated-dead! They have vanished without a trace.
The computer is also a great weapon when I don’t like what a character says. If I think the character is going too far and about to give away the ending, I just tap the back arrow key and stop them from spilling their guts and revealing the solution.
The computer also allows me to modify all types of murder weapons. I type the word knife. Then with a few keystrokes I can make it a hunting knife, a pocket knife, a fillet knife or an antique knife. I can make the blade long, short, dull, sharp or pointed. I can have a wooden handle, a pearl handle or a handle laden with exquisite jewels stolen from a royal family. And of course I can have it dripping with blood or wiped clean and glistening next to a dead body.
Best of all if I write a chapter where the red herrings and the clues aren’t working, off to the recycle bin it goes. But wait, I’ve changed my mind and that clue is important to solve the puzzle. I really need to include it in the story so I open the recycle bin and the chapter magically reappears. Killed the wrong person –just bring them back to life from the bin.
I guess you could kill someone with a typewriter by hitting the person over the head. (Hmm actually that’s a good idea for the next “Methods of Murder” word search puzzle.) But the netbook is so much more sophisticated and so very quiet for committing a murder. It’s a delightfully mysterious and murderous tool for crime writing.