Monday, December 6, 2010

Confessions of a Snoopy Writer - Welcome Guest Author Loucinda McGary & Comment to Win!

By Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

My mother was a wonderful woman with many fine qualities, but heaven knows, she loved to snoop! Not in a malicious way, she just loved to know all the little details about everyone around her.

All through junior high and high school my sister and I would catch her listening in to our telephone conversations, or going through our notebooks for possible notes our friends had passed to us during class. (You know those folded scraps of paper passed stealthily hand-to-hand right under the teacher's nose.) But most unforgivable of all to my teenage mind, my mother opened every piece of mail that arrived at our house. No matter who it was addressed to, she opened it and read it first. ACK!!!

My sister claimed not to mind. HUH?!?! I think she just liked the extra attention. I was mortified beyond belief, mostly because Mom would openly admit to her snooping and ASK about things she'd read or heard! Oh the horrors! Oh the teen angst!

Looking back on it now, my mom's snooping was pretty harmless. And I'm sure she would tell you she was just trying to be a responsible parent, which was also true. But I think it went beyond that. She genuinely liked to know. I think snooping was one of the things that made my mom an avid reader.

Reading about characters is a kind of snooping. We readers are privy to their thoughts, actions, and motivations. Sometimes we get to find out things (or figure things out) before they do!

Needless to say, this little apple didn't fall far from the tree. Yup, I love to snoop too, but I like to think I'm a bit more covert than my mother was, at least when it comes to friends and family. Not necessarily while reading. I've been known to mutter at the characters even while I'm deeply engrossed in reading. On occasion, I've even shouted out, "I KNEW IT!" when a plot twist happened just the way I suspected.

As for my writing, one of the things I love most about it is knowing all the little details of my characters lives. Even if those thoughts, feelings, experiences never quite make it onto the printed page, I still feel more competent to tell their stories just by knowing all about them. I've even been guilty of rubbing my hands together in gleeful anticipation because I know what's about to happen and I know how my poor characters are going to react.

Yes, yes, I know. We writers are a weird lot. But it's so much fun! Besides, snooping on my characters keeps me out of trouble with my friends and family members who would much rather I not do my snooping about them.

What about you? Do you like to snoop? Ever been caught? Or do you snoop openly like my mother used to do?

I’ll give away an autographed copy of one of my novels (The Wild Sight, The Treasures of Venice, or The Wild Irish Sea) to one commenter. Winner’s choice!

Loucinda McGary (Aunty Cindy of the Romance Bandits) writes romantic suspense in exotic settings with a hint of the paranormal. She currently has three books available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. Learn more about her and her books at http://www.loucindamcgary.com/

41 comments:

  1. HI AC !!

    great post :)
    for me, i don't like to snoop. My motto : Mind your own business.
    I've never opened any mails or emails without permission. even if i know the password of my hubby emails, i just don't like the feeling to snoop :)

    uniquas at ymail dot com

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  2. Hi Mariska!
    (Aunty waves madly to one of her best fans!) You are a far better person than Aunty. But then, wait until you have a teenager in the house! ;-) I predict you'll be very tempted to snoop then.

    AC

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  3. Awesome post! But then it runs in my family to snoop around...My grandmother is one of the first snoopers! At times even I am lured to snooping. I used to get scolded a lot and still do! Great post. :D!

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  4. AC wrote...
    As for my writing, one of the things I love most about it is knowing all the little details of my characters lives. Even if those thoughts, feelings, experiences never quite make it onto the printed page, I still feel more competent to tell their stories just by knowing all about them...

    Does it make you crazy that some of this stuff doesn't make it onto the page?

    My mom used to open my mail too and it would really set me off. She's still very snoopy. I put stuff away when I know she's coming to our house. I'm not a snooper, though I will admit I'll Google an old college friend of mine whom I'm no longer friends with because her husband doesn't like me, to see if she's divorced him yet! ;)

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  5. Great post, Aunty. This trait would make for a great character in one of your future books! I am not a snoop, even though I have teenagers. Just not in my nature, even though I do want to know what they are up to. I am lucky: usually they just tell me.

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  6. Loved the bit about your mom, AC! I probably don't snoop nearly enough. Seems like I'm always the last to know the good gossip!

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  7. Love it, AC!

    I don't snoop although some things make me curious. Although I am known for digging into something. Hm, maybe I do snoop!

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  8. Great post, Cindy! I'd never thought of writing as snooping in the lives of our characters, but that's exactly what it is.

    My mother was very nosy, god love her, but she was also very discreet about it. She just loved knowing stuff, whether it was about people's lives (celebrities, politicians) or how to craft or make something.

    I'm not much of a snooper. Sometimes it's very uncomfortable getting into the private lives of real people.

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  9. Great topic, Cindy. I'm not a snoop when it comes to my family but I wanted to be a detective all my life. Writing mysteries is just as fulfilling if not more so because I get to tell my characters where to do their snooping. (although they don't always listen to me - funny how that works).

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  10. Hi :)
    Thank you Loucinda McGary for an excellent post.
    I'm not snoopy except when it comes to the news, then I want to know everything: sources, verifications, the "real" story and the after-story (which most news halts before).
    All the best,
    RKCharron

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  11. Morning Danielle!

    I do think snooping runs in families! My sister and I both like to snoop and we definitely got that from our mom. ;-) I would never scold you for your "natural" curiosity! Well.... MAYBE. :-)

    AC

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  12. Hi Pink!
    Thanx for dropping by!

    Does it make me crazy that all the stuff I know about characters never makes it into books?

    Naw, there are too many other things about writing that make me crazy first! LOL! And too much of those 'details' do not belong in the story, but they do help me understand and provide motivations for my characters. For example, I know how my hero of Treasures of Venice lost his virginity... Wouldn't you like to know?!?! ;-)

    And I'm ROFL over you snooping online to see if your old friend divorced her jerky husband!

    AC

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  13. Hey Marie,
    You are so lucky that your children are so willing to talk openly with you! Once my son was in his 20s and moved out, he became much more open with me. Like what could I do at that point, ground him?

    Excellent suggestion for a new character. I'll definitely keep it in mind.

    AC

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  14. Cheryl, m'dear, I'm afraid you are simply too busy to snoop! But stick with me, girlfriend, and I'll pass along all the good gossip!

    AC

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  15. Linda,
    I am SURE any snooping you do is absolutely justified! And you've used some of those 'extra details' about your characters in some fun flash-fiction! Maybe I need to look into doing something similar.

    AC

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  16. Hi Jo!
    (Aunty waves madly to her fantastic CP!) Your mom and my mom sound a lot alike. My mom was never malicious in her snooping. She just LOVED to know everything about everyone. ;-) But you are sooo right, sometimes ignorance is bliss. It can be very uncomfortable knowing things about real people. Fictional people are another matter, of course.

    AC

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  17. Hi Cindy!
    (Aunty waves at her lovely chaptermate) Writing mysteries is the PERFECT way to use your snooping skills! And you're right, MUCH SAFER than snooping in real life, esp. if a crime is involved. ;-)

    Thanx for stopping by,
    AC

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  18. RK Charron,
    Thanx for popping by and I'm glad you enjoyed my post. You're right about the news and the "after-story." I get frustrated when I don't get to find out what ultimately happens. I guess I just want my HEA. :-)

    AC

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  19. I open my husband's mail, only because I usually know what it is and I pay all the bills. He says he doesn't mind. But he refuses to open my mail or even so much as open my purse to get the checkbook (like a snake might bite him). He brings the purse to me. Weird.

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  20. Hi Aunty Cindy.

    Of course I snoop, unless I think I'm being watched, like at a casino or somewhere, but in private homes and hotels and such, heck yeah. I want to know what's in every little nook and cranny.

    Patricia
    aka Jansen Schmidt

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  21. HI Kelly,
    My DH is the same way about my purse! He hands it to me even to get my car keys. What is UP with that?!?! Not that I want to change it, but maybe I want to put that kind of ju-ju on other things.;-)

    AC

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  22. Hi Jansen (Patricia),
    AH, a woman after my own heart! I don't go through people's drawers or anything that overt, but those nooks and crannies are sooo tempting!

    AC

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  23. I'm afraid my sense of politeness/privacy just killed the snoop in me long, long ago! I make an effort to look away from stuff unless I'm invited in!

    *shakes head

    I'd make a really bad PI. But maybe that is why I can write and let it out that way!

    jacarnda at sbcglobal.net

    Stop by the Revenge today, Aunty, we're talking cookie recipes!

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  24. Hey Maureen,
    As Cindy S. pointed out, it's a lot SAFER to play PI (snoop) on paper than in person!

    Thanx a bunch for dropping by and cookies?!?! ME LURVE cookies! I'll be over in a flash. ;-)

    AC

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  25. I never really thought about the fact that I was snooping on my characters. LOL I think I like that notion! Especially since I wouldn't snoop on anyone in real life.

    I also laughed at you shouting "I knew it!" when a plot twist turned out the way you thought. I've done that kind of thing before too, which is why I read at home, by myself. LOL

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  26. I'm irrepressibly nosy. I can't help it. I'm not a stalker or anything but I do like to know the latest gossip. :)

    I'd never thought of it as snooping on our characters though. Hmmm....

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  27. Yeah, Marn...I tend to think of myself as more a puppetmaster... Bwah ha ha!

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  28. I don't mind snooping on my own characters, but I've never been a sock drawer, diary, or email snooper. NOW if someone passed me an email about someone else, I'd read it, but I wouldn't break into anyone's email to read it.

    In fact, just the other day, my Chair shared an email with me and another assistant from a student of his. It was a Christmas letter, which you'd normally think was harmless, and she had emailed it to God and everyone, so it was clearly no secret, but for like the first large paragraphs, she was telling all these people, close friends and acquaintances alike, about the fertility troubles she and her husband had gone through, namely that he had a zero sperm count and all the trials until they were finally able to get preggers at the end. It was a happy ending, but I just mentally cringed reading it, like I was in the middle of something that was NOT my business (and I mean, I love gossip, but this was too much). And the other assistant cringed too--and the Chair finally blinked and was like, "Oh, I hadn't thought about that." Really? ZERO SPERM COUNT didn't make you cringe at being shared? *LOL*

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  29. Oh, and just as an aside, I'm ridiculously curious about celebrities. I'm always buying those trashy magazines, reading the articles. Mind you the articles didn't share anything I hadn't already figured out on the internet sites, but I'm always up on it!!

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  30. Hi, great post! I enjoyed the post as well as everyone's comments. I snoop around my teen daughter only. Being a mum is hard!

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  31. LOL Donna, on reading at home, ALONE.

    I usually manage to stifle myself when reading in public -- but not ALWAYS! Reading a Stephanie Plum novel in public has garnered me more than a few quizzical stares. Ask me if I care! ;-)

    AC

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  32. Glad I gave you a new perspective on snooping on your characters, Marnee. ;-)

    But maybe yours don't tell you as many revealing things as mine. Get in there and dig up the gos!

    AC

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  33. ROFLOL! I LURVE your evil laff, Maureen!

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  34. OMGosh, Hellie!
    That Zero Sperm Count really was TMI! Can't believe your Chair was so clueless...

    And I would NEVER buy those gossip rags... I read them while waiting in line at the check stand! :-P

    AC

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  35. Hi Nas!
    Nice to 'see' you here! You are sooo right, it is hard to be a mum. If I had a teen daughter, I'd snoop in her stuff too. You can not be too careful about teens, IMHO.

    AC

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  36. Hi Aunty Cindy, I have never even thought about snooping. Guess my life is too interesting and enough to deal with and I don't need the aggrivation of dealing with someone elses. My daughter usually confesses everything so I don't need to snoop. OR maybe it is the guilt factor. I am not really sure but would expect a thunderbolt if I snooped...I always get caught anyway.

    Fun post...

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  37. LOL on that thunderbolt, Paisley!

    Never underestimate the power of GUILT! ;-) And it definitely saves a mother a lot of work.

    Thanx for dropping by tonight, I appreciate your support.

    AC

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  38. Wanted to give a BIG THANX to Sabrina for allowing me to guest here while she is vacationing in China! I'm sure she's having a GREAT TIME! I know I did when I took a tour there. I'd go back tomorrow if I had the $$!

    And BIG THANX to everyone who commented today and made my guest post so much FUN! And even if you didn't comment, THANX for popping by and reading. ;-)

    AC

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  39. Great post. I'm not really a snooper. Maybe only in the world wide web. Easier there. LOL. My mum doesn't snoop, but my dad used to open my mail from time to time and always checking out how my room looked etc. hated that. Maybe that's why I'm not really snooping nowadays.

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  40. Great post, AC! I admit that if it's right out there, I'm super snoopy--I read over my husband's shoulder if he's checking his e-mail sometimes. On the other hand, I don't open my kids' mail (yet ;))... I do recall that at one point in college, my mom read part of my journal, which felt like an incredible violation of privacy, but as a parent now, I sympathize with her motivations. I won't say that I'll never do that; we'll have to see when the time comes!

    No need to enter me--your books are already on my keeper shelf, AC!

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  41. Haha, great post Aunt Cindy! :-)

    I always snoop but stealthily. I never could stand the suspense so even as a kid I always snooped and took a peek at the Christmas presents, and of course then taking great care in putting them back exactly the same way they were. I still like to take a peek ;-)

    Thank you for the giveaway! :-)

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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