Dictionary.com defines the word MYSTERY as anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown, and SUSPENSE as a state or condition of mental uncertainty or excitement, as in awaiting a decision or outcome, usually accompanied by a degree of apprehension or anxiety. Put the two together, and you have my favorite genre: Mystery/Suspense.
Must be why I love crime shows. Doesn’t really matter what it is, although my hands down favorite is the Law & Order series–namely SVU. But I also like In Plain Sight, The Closer, Without a Trace, Psych, Burn Notice, Dexter…I could go on and on. I don’t know why I like the mystery/suspense genre. Just that I do. It’s what I love to read, watch, and write.
Maybe I like crime shows because mysteries are like puzzles, which I also enjoy. The detectives and/or federal agents, or whatever they are, search for clues–pieces of the puzzle–to solve their cases. And the more complicated the mystery, the more I like it. I try to remember that when I’m writing. Simple is good but if I can add a twist the reader isn’t expecting, more the better. Run the hero up a tree, throw rocks at him, have the wind kick up, shoot at him, and then cut down the tree for good measure.
My current work-in-progress is set in New Orleans and Memphis, and I’m working hard to layer in the suspense. Today while I was writing, a car came out of nowhere and tried to run over my heroine, a detective with NOPD. I love writing those scenes, and I love when they come to my mind out of the blue. I don’t think enough is happening in the book, then BOOM! Another attempt on her life.
I wonder if the writers who pen the scripts for my favorite shows have that happen. Surely they do. Most shows are a collaborative effort, and I can just imagine the writers tossing ideas around. What if this, and what if that. Throw in a little gunfire, a dead body or two, and a hunky detective, and I’m hooked.
This weekend, The Hallmark Channel is having a mystery weekend. I might check out some of their movies, just for fun. What do you like to watch? Crime shows? Family dramas? Comedy? Comment, and let me know.