Tuesday 29 December 2015

Best of the ACW Archives - Genre: Mystery, Suspense and Thrillers

By Iola Goulton

Ronald Tobias distinguishes between plots of the body and plots of the mind, and action plots are plots of the body. They are focused on providing suspense, surprise and fulfilling expectation, and the main character doesn’t necessarily change and grow as an individual (think James Bond or Jack Reacher).


The essence of a mystery novel is that there is a mystery to be solved, usually a murder. The reader is introduced to a small group of characters in the beginning of the novel, one of whom becomes the detective, one (or more) the victim, and one the murderer. Writing a good mystery requires a significant level of skill: the reader shouldn’t be able to easily identify the murderer, but there should be a logic to the plot so the reader says, ‘of course!’ when the culprit is revealed at the end (as they always are).

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