I've Got a Question for You—

Today, several of my co-workers tried to engage me in a conversation about the sick screenplays of the VA Tech killer posted on aol.com, hoping I might shed some light (from an author's perspective) on what would make this person tick. (Yeah, right. Like I've got some special 3-D glasses to interpret the ranting of a mad man.)

It's true, when I write fictional characters, I delve into the deviant mind and try to adapt a specific villain as a foil to my hero/heroine. But for me, the wounds of VA Tech are too fresh. I write murder & mayhem for a living now. I think I'll sit this one out, thank you very much.

I've tried to distance myself from this latest mass murderer—not wanting to give his life a higher and undeserved priority than the poor victims in this case. So to distract myself from these horrific and sad events—and yet work along the fringes of it—I wanted to ask you a question. Many of you are readers of crime fiction. I certainly am. For the purposes of this discussion, I'd like to define crime fiction as mysteries, suspense thrillers, true crime books, etc.

Why do we read crime fiction?

Personally, I'm a voracious reader and although my shelves are crammed with an assortment of many types of books, I still gravitate to the suspense thrillers and crime fiction. So to answer the question for me, I think I read them for the suspense factor, certainly. There's an undeniable rush of adrenaline when I read these types of books. And I've lost hours of sleep too.

But I also read them to see the world righted again. And I like the mental stimulation of crime solving, especially when forensics are part of the investigation. Although I don't need a tidy ending to the stories I read, the good guy generally prevails and the world is restored after the villain is caught and punished. Real life isn't always wrapped up so neatly and well ordered.

But what do you think? Why do you read crime fiction? Do you think books allow us to feel more in control because in a fictional world, wrongs can be righted with more certainty than real life?

Jordan Dane

www.jordandane.com

Views: 312

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

What got me into reading when I was a kid was my love of horses. I tore through the library reading every book they had with a horse in it--Westerns mostly. To this day, the classic Western really captures me but the publishing world does not think they sell well until someone in Hollywood makes a movie and then it will pop again. As I grew older, I realized the protagonist of the story really drew me in, so I branched out into espionage thillers, which later propelled me into mystery, suspense, and thrillers. I was concerned that younger people don't read as much, but as I got out into MySpace, I found a whole community of young readers who really seem to love the crime fiction novels ( a broad spectrum of subgenres). There's nothing like reading to stir the mind.
I'm going to paraphrase author Mark Billingham here, who was asked a few years ago why he liked crime fiction. His answer went alone the lines ; because it has a beginning, a middle and an ending and unlike some works of fiction it has this thing called a plot.

As far as I'm concerned he said it all.
I had heard this and LOVED it too. Thanks for the smile.
Because it's interesting to read about the ripple effects of violent events, and to read about psychological extremes. And how a society enforces "justice" is very revealing of social and political inequalities.
You raise a very interesting point. And I agree that for an author, it is much more interesting to create a character who is stripped bare of all pretenses to find out how they would deal with a life or death situation.

Yet, I wonder that since the author has control over the outcome and the set up of that story, does the expectation of the reading public and the publishing industry for a certain type of ending play more of a role in how a plot is molded? Perhaps the non-fiction author is a stronger player in defining that society--simply by choosing to shed light on a facet of that society.
You raise a very interesting point. And I agree that for an author, it is much more interesting to create a character who is stripped bare of all pretenses to find out how they would deal with a life or death situation.

Yet, I wonder that since the author has control over the outcome and the set up of that story, does the expectation of the reading public and the publishing industry for a certain type of ending play more of a role in how a plot is molded? Perhaps the non-fiction author is a stronger player in defining that society--simply by choosing to shed light on a facet of that society.
Crime is the rock and roll of fiction. It's all about sticking it to the man, but in a safe way. That suits me to a tee.

Now, where the hell is this 'man' that everyone's always sticking it to?
I think he wears dark glasses and shaves his head.
I'M WATCHING YOU.

RSS

CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2020   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service