Friday, March 14, 2008


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.



Jami Davenport said...

One of my all-time favorites is Tami Hoag's Dark Horse. Also I have an old romance (Borden Deal) that I loved called Bluegrass. I've read it several times. Of course, there are all the books by the wonderful members of Equestrian Ink!!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

There was an old book I liked very much called A Portion for Foxes, I read this many years ago and mentioned it to my daughter, who is also a horse person, she surprised me with the book for Christmas. I haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, but it will be fun to see if I still like it as much as I did years ago.

Kit Ehrman said...

Hi Toni,
It is interesting how becoming deeply involved in writing changes our perceptions. Unfortunately, I can no longer read just for fun. Part of my brain is evaluating elements of the story, and I'm more critical than before. Strangely enough, I take note and am more appreciative of lyrics.

mcrowley41 said...

Hi Toni: I've been away or I would have responded earlier. I too am at the point where I can't read just for fun. I'm too busy looking at the book's plot to find its structure. Happy blogging.