Part of JR Jyoti saab's collection. Since we are writing a murder mystery now, it made sense to peep into this book. First up she says something interesting - a mystery was defined by the Greeks with the word 'mysterion' which means 'to keep silence'.
All mystery comes from a morality angle (earlier the God angle but now no more). It is filled with near-genius villains, foible filled heroes, funky heroines - all of whom lighten the crime and punishment theme.
There are 8 sub genres in mystery -
- Private eye (categorised by mobility),
- Police procedural (precinct/precint house, police, criminals, victims),
- Heists (Target, mastermind, cohorts, expense money, equipment, scheduling, heist, getaway, disposal, dividing, dispersal, outcome),
- Kidnappings (Target, mastermind, cohorts, expense money, equipment, scheduling, kidnapping, contact, exchange, getaway, divide, dispersal, outcome)
- Romantic suspense
To get ideas she says explore a whole realm of ideas, look for sinister intentions. Nurture the ideas and finally nail the idea.
Introducing the 3 main characters
Crime, Motive and Solution
In the first 1/3 appeal to readers/viewers emotion as much as the logic. The primary emotion is suspense. Introduce the scene of the crime early, introduce the 3 important characters early, the sleuths
Who is killed?
Who is affected?
Who wants to solve it?
The Middle Game
Look at Momentum. Understand that the sleuth understands human nature very well.
Motives are normally - Greed, Thwarted Love, Revenge, Opportunity (Love, Greed, Pain - are main themes)
Challenges - more murders, multiple, threat of a murder, physical hurdles, psychological
Getting Information - About all suspects
Laying Clues - Keep track
Coincidence, Cliffhangers, Subplots,
Don't make it easy for the sleuth
Make it tight - Intense
Wind this up soon
Revealing whodunit is the climax
Creating Memorable Characters
Plot vs Character. The sleuth's burden. The Murderer's Mind. The victim's role. Suspects. Minor - information passers, local color, pace breakers.
Background for Murder
Natural phenomena as emotional backdrops. Using familiar surroundings: foreign, city, wilderness, rural. Special backgrounds;research and accuracy, consulting experts.
Good one. Got some good pointers.