The Consulting Writer

aka The Frazzled Mom

What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

My favorite genres are mystery and SciFi. So what do I think the best characteristics are of each?

The Puzzle: In regards to mysteries, it’s like solving a puzzle. I have more of an analytical mind than a creative one, so solving problems is something that comes naturally to me. It doesn’t mean I can solve everything, but rather that I enjoy the process. That’s probably why I was ok with sitting through 3 hours of The Batman, because of the riddles. And that’s also why I really enjoyed the escape room with my family.

But mysteries aren’t just about the puzzle, the whodunit. I’m not going to get into the mystery unless there’s a good hook. What would get my attention? In the case of The Relic, it was the mysterious death’s where the victims were all missing a small portion of the brain. Sure that could be classified as a monster or horror book, but to me it definitely falls into mystery. They wrote in a modern day Sherlock Holmes (i.e. Special Agent Pendergast).

Keep the Reader Active: Mysteries also need to keep me guessing. When I’m constantly trying to figure it out before the detective, that’s the author keeping me entertained and active as a reader. But good gravy, don’t go overboard and through out a million red herrings. I think that’s why I never got into reading Agatha Christie.

The Dialogue: Another aspect of love with a good mystery is the dialogue. I want it to be suspense, but also witty at times. Which is why I love movies like The Thin Man. Give me good dialogue and I wouldn’t care if that was all that was going on in a chapter. I don’t need filler of them walking about or sitting down or picking up a glass. But if the dialogue is boring or does nothing for the story? Then I might fall asleep or worse, put the book down and forget about it.

Element of Danger: Now I also mentioned SciFi. And as far as I’m concerned, I like that SciFi that deals with a problem needing to be solve, similar to a mystery. But in this case, there’s more of an element of danger for everyone involved, typically. If the SciFi has an element of horror, then it might just become a favorite. I remember enjoying Aliens so much that I got a copy of the film novelization and read it in one night. I couldn’t put it down. That rarely happens.

3 comments on “What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

  1. alexjcavanaugh
    October 5, 2022

    Relic and Aliens! Excellent examples. Both are favorites of mine.


  2. pjmaclayne
    October 5, 2022

    I enjoy solving the puzzle in mysteries as well, but I like writing them more!


  3. Beth Camp
    October 5, 2022

    Your analysis of what makes a mystery appealing to you has many helpful elements to remind writers how to draft, revise, and edit. I especially liked how you combined suspense with a puzzle and witty dialogue!


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2022 by in IWSG, Writing and tagged , , , , .
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