Most of us write to our strengths, which is why I don't do spy novels, police thrillers, and international intrigue. I'd like to some time, but I haven't exercised that part of the brain yet. I'm pretty good at relationships, and characters come to me fully-developed. Like I can think of a character and there he/she is in all his/her/either splendor without a lot of "trying to figure things out."
I have a couple Murder Mysteries, which are higher on humor than on mystery, and last week saw the world premiere of Murder is so Rude, at a high school fundraiser in Duvall, WA. Near Seattle.
Some folks are like "ooo high school, like, whatever." I am honored. Of all the plays in the world they chose MISR so who can complain? It would be rude, so thanks folks and I hope it was fun!
What I like about the play are the characters' names. I used working names for some of them... e.g. Mrs. Corpse, Mrs. Hostess and her husband, Mr. Hostess, and then I figured, well, let's just keep it that way, and I added the suspects, Mrs. Hacker, Mrs. Cutter, Mr. Blade, etc, the butler Mr. Bowenscrape, and the lawyer Mr. Overbill. Plus Mrs. Hostess has a great reaction to the murder, "I never know what to do with a widow at a couples party." and "I hate to hire the rug cleaners for just one room." But did she do it? Of course not, she's hung up on etiquette and after all.... murder is so rude!
So by now you're probably wondering "where can I get this play?" and of course, go to www.brookpub.com and find it there at Brooklyn Publishers. It's great for high school and community theater, and dinner theater.
Naming characters can be a challenge, and I've been told about it two ways... that people prefer easily recognizable names, like Bob, Tom, Chip, etc... but I had a young guy tell me he enjoyed playing a character named Xanthus because how often does that opp come along? I like unusual names anyway, it gives a character a unique stamp. Sometimes you watch movies and every man is Jack, Frank, or Joey. No offense, but, why not Xanthus? Actually sometimes you watch movies and have no idea what the character's name is, you just know "it's that guy that Harrison Ford is playing" and that's good enough.
Be nice. Because Murder is SO rude.