You can check out my books on, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Writing Mystery

“Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

That's the question, isn't it? If you knew, before they reached the top of the stairs, would you do things differently? Would you keep someone out? Pull someone in closer?
It's a question at the heart of every mystery novel. Characters - lives tilting sideways - shuffle back through their mental card catalogues, searching every face their eyes have ever swept across, replaying even the most benign of interactions, searching for the "why" of it all. It isn't the whodunit that keeps us readers up after midnight, but the empathy we feel for the characters. It's probably true that there are no new stories; after all, there are only so many candlesticks and butlers in the game of Clue. But the characters are unique; they have their own histories and weaknesses and their own creaky staircases  - the steps coming up them are theirs and theirs alone, and so the story will be theirs, and no one else's.

No comments:

Post a Comment