Yesterday I admitted to liking the chase better than the puzzle. Sure thing, ask anyone who knows me. My monkey mind doesn’t have the patience it takes to solve puzzles, play chess or tinker with things. So that’s why I chose suspense over traditional mysteries. But why this genre to begin with?
I like the relative freedom and flexibility of it. Within the very broad constraints that come with the mystery/suspense genre, I can pretty much do whatever I want. I can keep the plot simple or make it complicated. I can have a happy or sad ending. I don’t have to catch and convict my villain. I can let him live to perpetrate another, more heinous crime two books down the road. Indeed, I can have two books down the road, i.e. I can write a series (definite benefit, in my eyes). I can go into the villain’s head and have a look at his motivations and thought processes or I can surprise my readers with a traditional approach and not reveal anything until the very end. I can focus on the technical aspects of the crime itself or the people surrounding it. I don’t even need to have an actual crime. A threat is all it takes.
I have a lot of options and choices and that made this genre appear less formulaic than others (and this is a personal prejudice, not value judgment). In fact, I could see myself breaking a lot of the rules and still producing a viable product that sells, whereas I felt other genres would be far less forgiving.
Above all, though, I really liked the idea of writing a series, of revisiting with the same characters and setting again and again. I didn’t want to immerse myself in my character’s lives only to “abandom” them after a few short months and move on to the next set. I’m more of a long-term commitment kind of girl (and yep, I’ve been married 15 years now).
So why do I write mysteries?
I have a healthy appreciation for bad guys and what makes them tick.
I like the chase and the ensuing adventure.
I appreciate the flexibility and freedom that comes with the genre.
Oh, and I’m too much of a wuss for horror, don’t personally care for aliens or space travel, and don’t really have the vocabulary for magical worlds :-)