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The Role of Mystery in Fiction An editor's take on the value of mystery in all genres of fiction

by Peter Gelfan

Unlike nonfiction, fiction’s motor doesn’t run on information, but on its opposite: mystery.

I’m not talking about mystery as a genre, but as the essential quality in all fiction that cultivates curiosity, stimulates the imagination, invites participation, and generally keeps readers reading. Every step of the reader’s journey should be fraught with questions, not only about how the story turns out, but about character, motive, backstory, and—perhaps most importantly—what he or she would do in the hero’s or villain’s […]

By |2018-05-21T19:44:48+00:00|PG, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on The Role of Mystery in Fiction An editor's take on the value of mystery in all genres of fiction

What Writers Can Learn from Lee Child & Jack Reacher A lesson in handling exposition in mystery and suspense novels

Exposition: a discourse of information. (Often necessary, but also challenging to handle skillfully.)

In an earlier post for mystery writers, I talked a little bit about the value of resisting the urge to lecture your readers on what you might have learned in the course of researching your story or what you might know from your own in-the-trenches experiences.  The premise behind this advice is that readers–and fans of mystery/suspense in particular–generally read in hopes of being entertained rather than educated. A […]

By |2021-02-02T19:02:20+00:00|Mystery, RSB, The Writer’s Craft|Comments Off on What Writers Can Learn from Lee Child & Jack Reacher A lesson in handling exposition in mystery and suspense novels