Level Thinking – The Mystery Spectrum

Cindy deJager:

Thank you Sharon, for such a great post today.

Originally posted on Sharon Wildwind:

The naive mystery writer

A while ago, say 2002, being a new and naive mystery writer, I thought I had a handle on mysteries. So confident was I that I reduced the mystery spectrum to a simple diagram, neatly tied up with qualities and a single word to embody different parts of the spectrum.

My simple view of mysteries a long time ago

My simple view of mysteries a long time ago

My basic premise was that each category was clean and could be identified by how much blood, violence and gore appeared on-stage; what emotion drove the plot; and how likely a reader was to laugh verses need anti-depressant therapy after having read extensively in a given category.

Mystery versus thriller
For a while after that simple beginning we had to deal with the mystery/thriller split, and periodic discussions over when does a mystery become a thriller and vice versa. Mystery and Thriller are, of course, marketing terms…

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