Went to listen to a great speaker on Mysteries vs. Thriller/Suspense Novels
First, let’s do Last Clichés:
Par for the Course—Just about typical or average. Believe it or not, this term comes from golf.
Par means the number of strokes set as a standard for a particular hole or for the entire course, a score not attained by the majority of players. This term was used to other activities in the 1920s. However, often used with a mildly derogatory or deprecatory connotation. i.e. “He’s nearly half an hour late; that’s just about par for the course.” Up to par means “to meet a standard or norm,” while below par = “less than satisfactory,” by extension in poor spirits or health. See C>E> Montague (1867-1928) Fiery Particles.
Alive and Kicking – Very much alert and alive; still surviving. Originated with fishmongers who described their wares, meaning that they were extremely fresh. Mid-19th cent. coined a cliché. Recent version = alive and well, originated as a denial to a false report of someone’s death. French singer Jacques Brel, boosted this expression with his show and recording which was translated as Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Popular in the 1970s.
Own Up To—Confess, admit to something. Dates from mid-1800s. This expression uses own in the sense of possessing responsibility for something. See the Boston Journal (May, 23, 1890).
So, how many did you find?
I went to my writers’ club speakers presentation. Michael M. Alvarez told us some history starting back in 1841 when Edgar Alan Poe wrote the firs detective mystery. Then in 1868 Wilkie Collins wrote Moonstone.
Mysteries have puzzles, and are like putting pieces together. The murder mystery is the most interesting which includes red herrings, false alibis, climatic scenes. Of course we all know in 1887 Doyles’ Sherlock Holmes series, and in 1920s the Agatha Christie mysteries had very engaging characters and interesting stories. After that, the publishers began putting books into categories or genres.
The real McCoy mystery novel is called a series of interviews.
So what’s the difference between a mystery and thriller or suspense novel?
A mystery—the reader does not know who the killer is until the end, but the reader should be able to smell a rat.
A thriller (which has elements of suspense) sometimes lets the reader know who the killer is at the beginning and reader has to figure out the how to stop the killer or catch the killer. Thrillers are faster paced (Mary Higgins Clark was good at this) and definition of suspense is anticipation of what happens next. Every ten pages something happens.
A mystery can do the same with short chapters, which gives the illusion of moving fast.
In the first 15 pages, the killer should be introduced—not necessarily by name.
Next blog will continue with what I learned about the Fictional Framework.