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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Create With Mystery

The lure of a mystery is present in all genres due to the main story question. If we are hooked at the beginning we will read, even through dull sections, determined to find the end’s answer. Chapter endings, scene endings need to leave us with that pause of ‘will she or won’t she succeed or fail’. The books and movies that keep us wondering breathe that mystery thread with both multiple possibilities and/or multiple questions.

The movie Shag keeps several story lines as bait.

For the trip itself, we are introduced to each girl leaving in the car, two by choice, one by stealth and one reluctantly so our first questions are why the hesitation and will they get away. Then will they caught when they head for a different place? If they get caught what will the consequences be? To everyone or just those whose property has been ruined? Each step of the trip requires a choice and each choice has unforeseen consequences that keep the reader wondering.

Another thread of questions lies in character discovery. With each girl acting a little out of character we begin to wonder if everyone is not what he or she seem to be. What are the hidden agendas? Which parts are masks and which parts are real? Sometimes the characters themselves aren’t sure which adds even more suspense. Or are others misunderstanding what they see?

Journal Prompt: On a recent TV series one of the main characters is caught by some incriminating photographs that become publicized as an affair and yet in reality are not. Put your character is a compromising situation, and then list three to five alternative reasons that she is there. Choose the one that will require the most confusion as to why or the one with the most costly consequences.

Share: What movie or novel kept you on the edge of your seat until the final page?

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