Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why do I write traditional mysteries?

Thrillers are bigger.
Young Adult (i.e., fiction for high-schoolers) is bigger.
Romance is bigger. (Ignore the howls of laughter from my wife.)
Paranormal romance is bigger.
Heck, zombies are bigger.
And yes, I know erotica is bigger. (But I wouldn’t read that, much less write it.)

So why write traditional mysteries (sometimes called cozy mysteries)?

2 reasons:

  • It’s what I love to read. I don’t mean that I read mysteries exclusively. This year I have read (partial list):
    • A Tale Of Two Cities
    • The Lord Of The Rings
    • The Hunger Games (all 3 books)
    • 212
    • The Bible (I will finish the entire thing by the end of the year. It’s a foundational document for our society, and to understand the West, you must understand this book.)
    • The Red House Mystery
    • All The Blue-Eyed Angels
    • No Time To Run
    • Invisible
    • Vimana
    • Prophecy (ARKANE thriller by J.F. Penn)
    • The Space Between
    • Creative Spirit
    • Disintegration
    • Doctrine of the Trinity (John Owen)
    • Brainrush II
    • Storm World: Speaker Of The Gods
    • The Flinch
    See: Thrillers, YA, supernatural, SF, religious works, and, yes, mysteries. I didn’t like all these equally. One I would warn you off of because of the quality of the writing; in one I would warn you of the content.
  • Traditional mysteries are appropriate for a very broad audience. I fell in love with the genre in late elementary or early junior high school. My great uncle, T.O. Dahl (who attended the US Naval Academy with Robert Heinlein), lived across the street from us; he loaned me copies of several books by Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. I was hooked.
  • Mysteries, as a form, give almost infinite possibilities in story telling: All the categories that are currently “bigger” can be subsumed in the archetypal seeking for truth. Or a story that is primarily in another genre can have elements of a mystery. (Will Katniss wind up with Gale or Peeta?)

Why traditional mysteries? Why not noir or supernatural or hard-boiled or juvenile or …?

That’s easy: To have to broadest appeal. Look: fundamentally I’m telling human stories. So in Unthinkable, everybody knows the dotcom-bust victim; everybody knows the alpha-girl in high school; detective shows are so popular that a tall, handsome detective who cracks wise is easy to picture.

So that’s why. How have I done?

No comments:

Post a Comment