Today’s topic is mystery and suspense….or is that two topics? Whatever! I would estimate that 75% of the novels I read are mysteries or suspense. I love the plots and sub-plots. I love the twists and turns and yes, I love to try and figure it all out before the end.
I think, often times, that mystery and suspense are used as synonyms, but I really don’t think they are. A mystery is a “who dunnit” or a “what happened” type of book, where a suspense novel may be part who dunnit but it concentrates mostly on building tension throughout the novel. In a suspense novel, you may very well know who dunnit, and you may know why they dunnit, but the suspense keeps building.
When I think of suspense I think of the Bourne novels. Those were hold-onto-your-seats novels where you never knew when the next surprise was going to happen.
Consider this quote of the day:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The rules of suspense are that you do know, and you just don’t know when. In the Hitchcock rules of suspense, you are supposed to know that there is a bomb on the bus that might blow up, and then it becomes very tense – but if you don’t know that there’s a bomb and it just blows up, then it’s just a surprise.”
Gus Van Sant
TIP OF THE DAY
Build dramatic tension by making the ordinary seem menacing. Hitchcock was a master of it in his movies. Stephen King has shown that ability at times, as has Dean Koontz. I’m reading a book right now by an author named F. Paul Wilson, who has fashioned a suspenseful mystery mixed with fantasy mixed with science fiction. The reason I mention him is because he does a great job of making the ordinary seem menacing. Things are not as they appear to be, so you can never really relax while reading his work….you want to keep turning the page.
And isn’t that what we all want as writers, for the reader to be so engrossed in our work that they are eager to turn the page?
CONTEST OF THE DAY
The Chanticleer Suspense Writing Contest is accepting submissions now with a deadline of July 1, 2013. You can find it here.
SITE OF THE DAY
Mystery Writers of America is an interesting site. They combine suspense and mystery and it might be worth a look. You can find it here.
PROMPT OF THE DAY
Anything? Does this picture make anything in your mind click? Come on…try harder….feel the picture….smell the picture….hear the picture. 🙂
AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE TIME FOR TODAY
Thanks for dropping by. I’ll have more for you tomorrow and then, as is my norm, I will take the weekend off and join you again on Monday.
As I have stated before, this site is for you. If you have any suggestions feel free to include them in the comment section and I’ll see what I can do to satisfy you. I want you happy so that you will return.
Until tomorrow, remember that your name is your brand….get out there and promote your brand.