Interestingly, what we like to read is typically what we like to watch as well. Although I don’t watch a lot of television these days since I’ve been working diligently at writing and promoting, when I do watch television my favourites are Criminal Minds, Murdoch Mysteries, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and lately I’ve been watching the serial The Following.
With all the exposure to mysteries and with the love I also have for romance (I’ve read all of Nicholas Sparks’s novels), it was no surprise that when I turned to fiction after writing my memoirs, that I began writing romantic mysteries. One point I would like to make is that you should never be afraid to switch genres. I discussed this in a previous post if you’d like to delve further into my thoughts on that.
So what is it that draws us into mystery?
What about the romance? Why do both mix together so well and how do you create that chemistry in your own stories? We’ll talk about the romance in subsequent blogs, but for now let’s discuss mystery.
It’s simple: make the reader care what happens to the characters. Give simple yet subtle clues throughout the plot, but not too many and not too early in the story or you’ll give too much away. Keep the reader guessing bit by bit. This is what we like in our mysteries, and since we’re mystery fans, we know what other fans will like.
In my novel Blessed and Betrayed, I kept my readers wondering what was happening between the main character and her mother. Victoria’s mother seemed to all but hate her, and I kept the reader wondering why. The supplied clues were a ghost, a picture and a car accident which caused Victoria to require a blood transfusion.
The way I made the reader care what happened to the main character was to introduce a secondary character, Alex, who was battling cancer. Coincidentally, this person was also a patient in the care of Victoria. So we care about what happens to Victoria because what affects Victoria also affects Alex.
Getting the picture?
In my next post, we’ll discuss how to create romance within a mystery novel, and why it works. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, feel free to enter your email address in the upper right hand corner…it’s free!