The Red String of My Mind

by Bethany Maines

In the cop shows, whenever the intrepid detective (Watchingthe Detectives, Elvis Costello)
is working on the massive conspiracy that killed her mother/lover/those six
girls we never met, but who really give our character a reason to act, the case
is always shown as pictures (Pictures of You, The Cure) tacked up and connected
by red string.  I don’t know what set
designer came up with the red string, but they ought to get royalties.  It’s so common that if I worked at a craft
store and someone bought red string I’d think they were a serial killer, a cop
thrown off the force for refusing to quit the case, or a grandmother of
toddlers stocking up for Christmas.  I
bring this up for the reason that it is a fitting visual for the song lyric
littered wasteland (Teenage Wasteland, The Who) that is my brain. 
Whenever I have a story noodling around in my head, but
haven’t moved it to the level of having an outline, my natural writing style is
to pick out scenes that I want to write, type them up, and save each scene to it’s
own word document.  As you can imagine,
this creates a number of random word documents that might be hard to keep track
of.  But I have a system, most often I’ll
name the document the song lyric associated with it.  As a book grows, frequently these scenes
become chapters, and those document names become chapter titles.  Which is why the original table of contents for
Bulletproof Mascara, the first of my Carrie Mae Mystery novels, read more like
a playlist than serious literary subtitles. 
Sadly, editor made me change most of them – now they simply hint at the
songs they reference.  Apparently, the
only people more uptight that literary rights lawyers or music rights
lawyers.  But you can still rock out to
the Bulletproof Mascara playlist simply by visiting my youtube page  ( – please enjoy
the musical stylings of David Bowie, James Brown, Simon & Garfunkel, Tech9,
Morcheeba, and (of course) more.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie
Mae Mysteries
, Wild Waters, Tales
from the City of Destiny
and An
Unseen Current
You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video
or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.