Murder mysteries are about the rights of the individual versus the rights of the community, the battle between good and evil, and the triumph of justice. While, in general, murder mysteries follow the traditional dramatic arc, with the protagonist’s fortunes rising, climaxing, and resolving, there are a few more twists and turns in a mystery arc.A = a body is discovered. The book’s events are set in motion.B = suspects, clues, and red herrings are investigated. The protagonist makes a tentative and often impersonal commitment, as in she’s a police officer. It’s her job to investigate; or, for the amateur, her best friend is in trouble, so naturally she’ll help out. Note that during this stage the protagonist’s ups and downs are shallower than they will be later.C = a second body is found. The protagonist has failed to prevent this subsequent crime.D = the protagonist makes a second, more personal commitment to see that justice is done. At this point her personal fortune becomes tied to the greater group good, and she makes a promise, at least to herself and perhaps to others, that she will carry through to the end no matter what the cost.E = the clues and red herrings become more significant, with a greater impact on both the personal and public stakes.F = the protagonist confronts a personal threat in bringing the killer to justice.G = resolution. The protagonist doesn’t return to the original starting point — except perhaps in farces, see below. She has been irrevocably changed by the search for justice.The above arc deals with the murder resolution. There are also one or more personal arcs that deal with the private fortunes of individual characters. Personal arcs include romance and relationships, danger to family members, danger to the personal community, personal fortunes, and living conditions (house, salary, possessions, etc.).The personal community is a small part of the larger community. It includes those people with whom the protagonist had day-to-day contact: friends, co-workers, and maybe a special interest that the protagonist has, such as rescuing abandoned dogs or running a store. It is terribly important to the protagonist, but isn’t important to the larger public community in the same way. For example, a police abuse scandal might enrage public opinion, but the police officer involved is concerned about how the scandal affects her partner, who is one of the people accused.The personal stakes are played out in contrast to or in synchronization with the public stakes of righting of wrong and the triumph of justice. Mysteries from North America and England usually ground themselves in the need for justice to triumph. Mysteries by writers from other parts of the world may have a different view of justice or may reflect a society where justice is not possible or is not common.Here are four ways that this interplay of public and private stakes can play out.
Public Stakes Public Stakes Private Stakes Both the public stakes and the private stakes rise in synchronization. Justice is done and everyone lives happily—or relatively happily—until the next book in the series. Usually found in traditional (cozy) mysteries, but also quite common in many mysteries. The public stakes and the private stakes operate in contrast. Justice is done, but the private stakes fall. The characters sacrifice personal happiness for the good of the community. When well done, can lead to an award-winning book. Private Stakes The private stakes rise, but justice is not done. Very rare in North American mysteries because it leaves the reader dissatisfied that the world is not put right. Not so rare in the rest of the world, particularly in countries that have a recent history of civil wars, dictatorships, or civil rights issues. Both the public stakes and the private stakes fall. Justice is incomplete or is not achieved and there is a personal loss. Characteristic of mean streets, noir, and the suspended tragedies written in the past 15 to 20 years. Suspended tragedies often involve serial killers who escape, only to return in subsequent stories.
Get the rest of the story at POE’S DEADLY DAUGHTERS: The Murder Mystery Arc.
- We Have A Murder Mystery! (villainousedition.wordpress.com)
- It’s a (Murder) Mystery! (anediblequest.wordpress.com)
- !:Lybra:! Limited Edition Men’s Outfit – Murder Mystery Charity Hunt (theoinsl.wordpress.com)
The art and heart of life, technology, and current events. |Welcome to a new friend: Matthew Alan Bennett
In addition to being a musician, songwriter, teacher, writer, and a magician, I have also been an armored car driver, paranormal investigator, website designer, civilian defense contractor, investigative reporter, stand-up comedian, youth counselor, TV cameraman, small engine mechanic, voiceover artist, sound engineer, and about 30 other things.
As you can see from my list of career moves, I like to shake up my life and keep things interesting. I am doing the same thing with this website. This is my outlet for posting whatever I need to post.
Some more “about me” stuff:
I am not a republican or a democrat or a libertarian. I spend a lot of time thinking through every issue, and I try not to let the media or the current sentiment of the culture define how I feel about these issues. I also spend a lot of time trying to convince others to do the same.
I’ll never end up with a college degree, because I study what I want to study. One month I will take a class in quantum physics, next month it’ll be economics, closely followed by psychology. Education, for the purpose of education itself, is the best way for me to spend my money. When I see people with degrees who are clueless about how life works, it validates my personal educational philosophy. I’m not going to let a degree define me.
I am primarily a musician, at least as far as “getting a paycheck” goes. I am also a magician, performing stand-up shows and close-up magic. I have been on the stage in one capacity or another nearly every week for the last 20 years. It is my second home, no matter where that stage may be located.
I also write short stories, mostly in the horror genre, although sometimes I end up getting all sci-fi on paper – accidentally, of course. Like many, many other writers I am “working on a novel”. I was an investigative reporter at one point, for the Capital News in Corydon, Indiana. I thought this would be my career path, but the business closed, and my life took a different turn.
I designed my first website in 1998, and have been trying to keep up with that for last 15 years. I really like net/tech stuff.
So, there you go. Music, magic, writing, tech stuff, hopefully the mix will go at least a little way towards explaining the widespread nature of the blog. Enjoy!
following the course of the Wagon Wheel (which is currently the only song in iTunes on my phone) – passing through Johnson City and Cumberland Gap. We stopped in Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans before we landed on a beach in Corpus Christie, TX. On the way from the Gulf to Dallas, I specifically wanted to visit Luckenbach, mostly because of the song that I have known since childhood.
We had a drink at the bar, and heard some live music outside – which turned out to be a “guitar circle”, so anyone could play. Since nobody was playing except for the guys running it, we decided it would be really cool to play there. We stayed a couple hours and had a lot of fun, but I’m mostly excited about having that experience under my belt. I just wish they had a piano!
Dance because music was made
to speak to your soul
shake the doubt off
lift those thoughts that try
to trap you-
and what you think.
Make your own music.
Compose and dance
invested with danger
and leering illusion
join swinging articulates
timed for surprise
popping into my
with each tap of lead
gunsights trained and
looking for holes
in the kill zones
a bloodless flat
that center a heart
and a head
in defense against
when some mayhem
my peaceable space
disabled of prowess
by muscle and bone
I have no other choice
but to sharpen
this alternate skill
and at twenty-five feet
can deliver sure
just knowing it
chases some fears
peace of mind
to this damnable
sense of infirmity
Instant Stress Relief For Writers: Feel Happier With One Quick Change
Posted on May 14, 2013 Written by Joe Warnimont 17 Comments
Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici / freedigitalphotos.net
Laughter is the best stress reliever.
But how can someone initiate laughter? And how can you keep the stem of this laughter from turning into procrastination?
I often think that I am doing myself a favor by simply watching a sitcom and laughing.
After all, laughing releases endorphins to make you feel better, it acts as an exercise to strengthen your core muscles and reduces stress.
The problem with me watching sitcoms?
They are 30 minutes long, the first one tends to lead to another and I just sit in a chair by myself the entire time.
It does take some effort or activity to laugh at something, so what are some other things that can make you laugh?
A funny joke from a friend
A funny situation at work, school or wherever you are
All of these are great, but once again they take effort, time and some even cost money.