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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Generally Speaking...  /

Should We Give The Public What It Wants?
Gervase Charmley - 12:18pm Oct 15, 1998 PST

The subject of this discussion will be quite simple. Since all of us are members of the public (I hope) we shall just say what sort of mystery we want to read. If you think someone else has taste so bad that it oughta be exorcised, say so. And, why not say what you think the GENERAL public wants to read.

Oke. That was the posh bit. Really, I'm a prospective crime author, and I'd like to know how to pitch my story. Low, yes, commercial, yes. Sensibe? Only time will tell. If you see a book on a bookstall with my name on it, take the answer to the last question but one as 'yes'.

_Sunshine_ - 09:18am Oct 23, 1998 PST(#1 of 32)
...redefining Normal, one day at a time.

Hmmm. That's a good question. I just write what I want to read, and other people seem to enjoy it. Never really sat down and thought it out.

For myself, I don't really care what a book is about or whether it could happen in real life. I want a book with characters I like, who interact in a way that I can relate to and be amused by. I also LOVE suspense, as I think everyone does.

One thing I absolutely HATE is to guess something before the "detective" does. If I can see it, he/she should be able to, and if they don't - I don't even bother with the rest of the book. Cross the writer off my list, move on.

That's it in a nutshell. I'm looking forward to what others have to say about this.

Rob Lewis - 07:48pm Oct 23, 1998 PST(#2 of 32)

Shouldn't this be titled "what DOES the public want?"

Gervase Charmley - 06:12am Oct 26, 1998 PST(#3 of 32)

Not so far as I'm concerned.

Alex Dent - 06:27am Oct 26, 1998 PST(#4 of 32)

Ouch - meow, Rob.

I think that it's very important that the book challenge the reader and provide an interesting elegant solution - but all mystery's try and do that. So what makes one book with an interesting, elegant solution better than another book with an interesting elegant solution?

In my view I'd have to say characterisation. The first thing you notice about a book are the main characters - the plot can be a dosy but if the characters suck (metaphorically speaking) than the book sucks. What makes a series of characters interesting? Well that's a whole different question and there are at least as many different answers as there are authors.

For me to like a character I have to relate to him on some level. This is why I like characters that treat mystery's as fun and games instead of as a job. I like fun and games and I don't like having to do any work. The general public don't seem to be like me: more non-fiction sells then fiction so maybe you should pitch and a more realistic level.

Anyway that's my thoughts.


Hugh Drummond - 07:10am Nov 2, 1998 PST(#5 of 32)
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Oh definitely.if the blinkin' book's full of cardboard people, it turns me off. I think it's important that we make the reader actually feel for the characters, even the highly unpleasant ones. Unless the reader identifies with your characters, it (Gender neutral term) soon ceases to CARE what happens to 'em.

Fran Hinkel - 12:36pm Mar 29, 1999 PST(#6 of 32)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

Originally posted by Chantel Dawn Lyngstad -- Mar 28, 1999

Hello everyone!! I heard that writing about certain things were taboo in the writing world. One of the things was animal neglect or abuse. The advice(if you could call it that) actually came from a writer. SHe said that she once wrote about a kitten that was filleted(sp?) alive. I have been thinking of using an abandoned dog as an object of one of my mysteries. My character is office shopping and finds a shaggy German SHeperd in his newly bought building. THe dog is simply neglected, misfed, and mistreated(though no permenant mental scars arise). My character takes the dog in and of course solves the mystery. Do you think that using a mistreated dog is wise? I mean in no way will the abuse ever reach the extent of filleting the poor creature alive. Give me some backup and I'll kiss you!!(: CH

Sarah Holmesley - 12:44pm Mar 29, 1999 PST(#7 of 32)


3 books, but there are so many more:

My Friend Flicka, Mary O'Hara (about a horse, but a stray dog has a major impact) 
The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (the fawn) 
Old Yeller, Fred Gipson (another dog) 
These are examples of how some authors have dealt with the realities of life's not always happy moments. I would think that it would depend on who your intended audience is. Decide who your audience is to be and then you can decide if the scenes dealing with the neglect/abuse of the animal are too intense for that audience. I think that you might limit your audience if the violence against the animal is too brutal with no apparent logic behind it and no salvation for the beast. Just my thought, but then I try to save reality for the newspapers and avoid it in my casual reading. People read for their own reasons, so I'm sure you will find other opinions.

JMHO, Sara

Chantel Dawn Lyngstad - 03:44pm Mar 29, 1999 PST(#8 of 32)
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious(or somthing like that!!)- Albert Einstein

Thanks Sarah, I appreciate it. As soon as I get done with my current book I think I will go ahead and write about the abused dog. I'm fairly sure it will blow over ok. CDL

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Generally Speaking...  / Should We Give The Public What It Wants?

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