Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creatures of Habit

We humans tend to be creatures of habit. We usually eat our meals at the same time each day, we awake and go to bed routinely at the same time, and our daily tasks are mainly the same each day.

We go about our tasks day in and day out and we do some of them almost without thinking.

Keeping that in mind, have you ever left a store, gone out into the parking lot, and couldn’t find your vehicle?

I’m not talking about a mega mall-type store. I’m talking about a normal-size grocery store. The kind that has one level with two doors, not 10 different entrances/exits.

For those first few seconds when you can’t find your vehicle, numerous things run through your mind with the first being “someone stole my car.” When you finally catch your breath and your mind slows down, your brain engages and you remember -- “I parked in a different place this time.”

This was a pre-Thanksgiving experience for me and one that has happened on a couple of other occasions.

I am a creature of habit when it comes to shopping. I automatically park in the same section of my Kroger store every time I go. I don’t park as close to the store as possible, I usually park at least half way down the section or further.

Well, Tuesday before Thanksgiving I couldn’t park anywhere near where I normally park. I had to park in the “lower 40” as the saying goes, several sections over and twice as far from the store as usual.

I purchased my groceries, came out and started to my vehicle. As I pushed my buggy toward the section where I normally park, I didn’t see my vehicle. There was that brief second of panic and then I remembered, I parked somewhere else.

Things were going along nice and peaceful, until the panic hit (even if it was just a brief second). Have you ever read a book that gives you that feeling?

I enjoy murder mysteries that lull you into a sense of security. The story is going along, not boringly, but smoothly. The characters are interacting and the plot is moving along well. Then you turn a page and WHAM, the unexpected happens. The author puts a twist in the story that you never saw coming.

Don’t get me wrong, I like stories that the reader can figure out what’s going to happen next and it does. That type of writing is a little like a game between the writer and the reader. Can the reader figure out what is going to happen next, before does?

But to read a book that has a WHAM in it, is something else. That author has drawn you in and captivated you. You will go back time and time again to that author to see if they will hit you with another WHAM.

Do you like books that go along smoothly or do you enjoy a big surprise and a twist in the plot you never saw coming? As a writer, is it harder to go smoothly or put that WHAM in the book?


  1. The 'wham' for me is really hard. Twist endings are whams for sure and those are tough to think up. It's on my list of things to try, though. :)

    And...too funny! I park in the same place at stores, too. Otherwise I'd never find my car.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. I think with Pretty is As Pretty Dies, Elizabeth you have a "wham" with your killer. It was one I didn't see coming. I was busy looking at one of the other characters as the killer. I thought the killer more of a trouble maker.

    We are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to parking.

  3. I love to be "Whammed" and I love to wham.

  4. I'm with you J.W. I like that feeling when you stop and say, "WOW, I didn't see that coming" and can't wait to read the next paragraph to see what else is going to happen.

  5. I love to BE whammed. I hope to WHAM! When I finish it, I'll let you read it and tell me!

    I love your blog, but I'm not a music person, so I'm not the best to comment on that. When I'm on here I just want to take in the images and the words ans soak them up.

    BTW, this post was very well written!

    I left an award for you on my blog!


  6. Michele, I can't wait to read your work. I have a feeling I'll be whammed.

    I realized the music really doesn't fit the way I wanted it to. I'd love for it to play very low and it should have been classical and relaxing. I removed it from now. Maybe I'll find what I'm looking for later.

    Thank you for your kind words about the post and the blog. Thanks for the award too, I'll stop by.

  7. while i don't think i am whamy, i love being whamed! it keeps me humbled...good for character building!

  8. It is fun to be whammed and I hadn't thought about, but it does build character.

  9. I love to be whammed in a mystery or thriller novel, but I sure don't like the panicky feeling of not being able to find the car. What works in novels does not work quite so well in real life.

  10. So true Patricia. I'd much rather have that panicky feeling about a book any day rather than a real life situations.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.