I will continue on with what I learned when Michael M. Alvarez spoke on Nov. 6th, at the Joyner/Green Valley.
First, Last Clichés:
Red Herring— A false or deliberately misleading trail; a diversionary tactic. Dates from 1800s. Comes from the use of strong-smelling smoked herrings as a lure to train hunting dogs to follow a scent. They also could throw the dogs off the scent, and it was this characteristic that was transferred to the metaphoric use of red herring. See W. F. Butler (Life of Napier, 1890).
The Real McCoy—The genuine article. Probably originated in late 19th cent. America. A young boxer named Norman Selby changed his name to Kid McCoy and began a successful career in the ring. For years he averaged a fight a month, winning most by knockouts. Hoping to capitalize on his success, other boxers adopted the name Kid McCoy, but on March 24, 1899, the real Kid, in a now legendary bout, finished off Joe Choynski in the 20th round. The next day’s headlines in the San Francisco Examiner proclaimed, “Now you’ve seen the real McCoy,” and the description stuck. This explanation is somewhat verifiable, but there are several other theories to its origin. One is a Scotch whiskey made by the MacKay company was called the real Mackay or McCoy.
Smell a rat—Suspect something is wrong. A very old term alludes to a cat sniffing out a rat. John Skelton used it in The Image of Hypocrisy (c. 1550): “If they smell a rat, they grisely chide and chant.”
So, how many did you find?
Michael M. Alvarez talked about Fictional Framework. So I will tell you the whole kit and caboodle about what this is.
Fictional Framework means that all that happens in a story, happens for a reason, and it all has to make sense.
The elements in every mystery have to have:
1. Interesting and Believable Characters
2. Create an interesting and believable killer (you must balance 1 and 2)
3. Need a good cast of suspects—3 for a novella, 5-6 or more suspects in a novel
4. Victim’s death must not be trivial—need a good reason why victim was killed
5. Setting – (regional, business type, etc.) something out of the ordinary is good-example is Tony Hillerman
6. Interesting Plot and Subplots –Robert B. Parker can do in 200-210 pages what other authors do in 300-400 pages.
7. Clues and red herrings
8. Have to have a logical, satisfying conclusion—avoid bringing together too quickly
Logical ending needs to have a motive, means, opportunity. If you fail on these, then you have a novel that is dead in the water.
The Play Fair Doctrine – a writer gives all information and clues for the reader to be able to figure everything out. If he doesn’t, the reader will be fighting mad.
Hope you’ve learned something like I did, and