View Full Version : AW Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Chat

Good Word
02-20-2007, 11:59 PM
Let's give it a whirl! The Official Chat Schedule is as follows:

First and Third Thursday of each month. We begin at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, which is 1pm Aussie time.

Thanks Pthom and Mod35tBabe.

Should we pick a topic or two for the first one?


Soccer Mom
02-21-2007, 03:15 AM
yay! I'm in! A couple of topics would be good for starters.

02-21-2007, 06:28 AM
Hey if anyone has topics they'd like to chat about pop it in here or PM me with it - I thought if I get enough suggestions I can put them together and we can do one a week for a while and think about other topics during that time. So get your thinking cap on and think up a topic or two. Thanks everyone.

02-21-2007, 06:55 AM
so the first chat is on March 1st ?

02-22-2007, 10:57 AM
If all goes well yes it'll be the 1st of March for you Americans, 2nd of March for me.

02-24-2007, 02:55 PM
Hmm, I think this works out to be about 11pm Greenwich Mean Time. Which on a work night is bed time for me.

But, if I am still up I shall drop in.


03-02-2007, 03:51 AM
Topics anyone? If you have one please suggest it here, PM me or suggest it in the chat room thanks.

03-02-2007, 04:40 AM
I won't be making it tonight, but have a good time and I'll try to catch it next time.

03-02-2007, 07:21 AM
Here's a transcript of my debut chat.
[12:53] * Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic: Welcome! '
[12:59] <ccwriter> isn't most SF supposed to be thrilling? And Suspensful?
[12:59] <Peter> often, but it isn't a requirement
[12:59] <Jed> my books tend to be SF/F, and my shorts are more mainstream and then horror
[12:59] <ccwriter> well, the stuff I've read has been
[13:00] <CathS> It helps pull the reader through sometimes
[13:00] <ccwriter> true.
[13:00] <CathS> but I think it's a subgenre of SF, not all of it.
[13:00] <nevada> every genre has things from other genres in it
[13:00] <ccwriter> Just got finished with a fantasy series I liked
[13:00] <Mod35tBabe> True nev I think its why I struggle categorising my work for the simple reason most of them are mixed genres
[13:01] <Jed> which was, cc?
[13:01] <ccwriter> Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman Dragons
[13:02] <CathS> I think there are some trump genres - eg anything with an SF background usually ends up in SF - YA in YA etc
[13:02] <Peter> Well folks, it's finally happened! You are now present in the very first, officially sanctioned, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense forum Live Chat! Let's all give a big round of applause to Mod35tBabe who will be your host tonight and for weeks to come.
[13:06] <Peter> someone asked earlier.....what defines thriller?
[13:06] <Casiopeia> yes that was me
[13:06] <ccwriter> icy fingers of fear, Peter
[13:06] <Peter> I'm not a thriller writer, but I would like to know
[13:07] <Peter> how do you achieve that?
[13:07] <ccwriter> taught suspense
[13:07] <Sable> building suspense
[13:07] <Sage> how about "how does thriller differ from suspense?" That's a good question
[13:07] <Peter> and not make the thing into a horror story?
[13:07] <Mod35tBabe> I was about to ask that sage
[13:07] <CathS> Something that stimulates the reader, makes their heart race along with the character.
[13:07] <CathS> Suspense keeps the reader guessing - Thriller can lay it all out up front
[13:07] <CathS> The reader maybe has information the protagonist doesn't have in a thriller
[13:08] <Mod35tBabe> I think thriller/suspense is more something that could happen in life but is unlikely to - ie a stalker or something. But horror is more paranormal and folk tale sort of thing
[13:08] <CathS> in a suspense the reader only knows what the protagonist knows
[13:08] <Casiopeia> some people confuse thriller with horror however
[13:08] <nevada> i think a thriller is bigger than suspense. a murder mystery is a suspense but it's not a thriller
[13:08] <ccwriter> yes, but they're not the same
[13:09] <ccwriter> thrillers are more immediate
[13:09] <CathS> yes - a suspense has a very deliberate purpose - to keep the reader in suspense about what is going to happen.
[13:09] <CathS> I would argue that a suspense is pretty immediate.
[13:09] <nevada> 24 is a thriller, criminal minds is a suspense
[13:09] <Jed> thrillers have more of a pace to them, pulling you through
[13:10] <ccwriter> well, depends on how the tempo is set up, doesn't it?
[13:10] <Casiopeia> oh nevada...so why isn't a murder mystery a thriller?
[13:10] <CathS> Cosy MM's are rarely thrillers
[13:10] <CathS> they're more comfortable, laid back somehow.
[13:10] <CathS> More cerebral I guess
[13:10] <Casiopeia> i see...I don't think mine is intended to be cosy
[13:10] <Casiopeia> i will have to think about that
[13:11] <nevada> because a thriller is bigger in scope, usually the plot involves the threat to the world, some great international adventure that will change the course of the world
[13:11] <Mod35tBabe> I read a murder mystery but to me I didnt feel quite the angst as I did reading a sci-fi thriller
[13:11] <Casiopeia> oh I see
[13:11] <Peter> ty nevada
[13:11] <Casiopeia> I didn't realize it had to be that involved
[13:11] <nevada> suspense is smaller in scope. usually a murder that doesnt affect the course of the world just the people involved
[13:11] <Peter> was just gonna ask that
[13:11] <ccwriter> I think Nevada hit it
[13:11] <Mod35tBabe> I think you got it in one nev
[13:11] <Casiopeia> that is so helpful..thanks nevada
[13:11] <Casiopeia> so..I write suspense/mystery for now
[13:11] <nevada> ty
[13:11] <blankpage> So how would one lump "the house of sand and fog" or "the killing" by the Dubus family
[13:12] <Mod35tBabe> The murder mystery I read only affected the characters in the story, but the sci-fi thriller while it mostly affected the characters *couldve* affected the whole world
[13:12] <nevada> not having read either, page, i wouldnt know
[13:12] <blankpage> did you see In The Bedroom?
[13:12] <Mod35tBabe> thrillers also tend to be that the protagonist is in iminent danger at every turn
[13:12] <blankpage> that's the killing on screen
[13:13] <blankpage> both slow, suspenseful, artfully paced, beautifull written, and leading to a thrilling conclusion
[13:13] <nevada> okay there's a difference between something being thrilling and it being a thriller
[13:13] <nevada> in the bedroom is not a thriller
[13:13] <ccwriter> ah well...would that I were writing such fun stuff. Marketing can be boring compared to fiction.
[13:14] <Peter> heh
[13:14] <nevada> the bourne identitiy is a thriller
[13:14] <Peter> so is Mission Impossible?
[13:14] <nevada> totally
[13:14] <Mod35tBabe> in which case what I said before would be correct - hes in danger for most of the time
[13:14] <blankpage> no, i suppose not in one sense...but it depends on what you're thrilled about
[13:14] <Peter> Hunt for Red October?
[13:14] <Sage> so, I've read that in mysteries, the mystery has to be solved by the protag. In suspense or thriller, can the mystery aspect be thrust upon them (the bad guy reveals himself before the protag figures it out, for example)?
[13:14] <nevada> no page, a "trhiller" is a definite genre, has nothign to do with it being thrilling
[13:14] <nevada> yes peter
[13:14] * Angelus has joined #AbsoluteWrite
[13:14] <blankpage> suspenseful...but no imminent danger from moment to moment
[13:15] <Peter> welcome, Angelus
[13:15] <Mod35tBabe> Stephen King is mostly touted as a horror writer but I think much of his work fits in as thriller/suspense
[13:15] <nevada> page, some books can be romantic but that doesnt make them romances
[13:15] <nevada> just as some things can be thrilling but that doesnt make them thrillers
[13:15] <Angelus> King is a romantic
[13:15] <Angelus> He just uses horror and suspense
[13:15] <Peter> well, that knocks him right out of THIS discussion, don't it?
[13:15] <Peter> oh
[13:15] <Sable> lol
[13:15] <ccwriter> The only thing I really liked of his was "On Writing"
[13:16] <Mod35tBabe> Sage I wouldnt agree the mystery has to be solved by the protag - but it may make for easier writing. The mystery I think just has to be solved by a character in the book
[13:16] <Angelus> Read The Shining
[13:16] <Mod35tBabe> it would depend on POV too.
[13:16] <ccwriter> Agatha Christie
[13:16] <nevada> mod, i think the protag needs to solve it, otherwise he's not the protag
[13:16] <blankpage> i'm just bringing up the point that it's rather subjective...i loved the Bourne Identity in print and on screen, my wife fell asleep...she thought Sense and Sensibilty was a thriller
[13:16] <Mod35tBabe> Pet Sematary of course was a horror, as is IT but Secret Window I would consider a thriller
[13:17] <Sage> but, the bad guy couldn't reveal him/herself in a mystery, right?
[13:17] <nevada> secret window was not a thriller
[13:17] <nevada> secret window was a suspense
[13:17] <blankpage> in memento he does
[13:17] <ccwriter> definitely
[13:17] <Sable> I think secret window was more suspense
[13:17] <Mod35tBabe> No it's just what I've read that a character must reveal the mystery
[13:17] <Mod35tBabe> Sorry I meant suspense
[13:17] <Angelus> King does not write horror
[13:18] <Angelus> He writes his stuff
[13:18] <Angelus> He writes what he loves
[13:18] <nevada> i do think the protag should solve it. wfhy else would we want to follow along with the protag
[13:19] <nevada> imagine the letdown if we follow him while he finds clues and stuff and then the next door neighbour says, oh by the way i saw who did it, it was mike smith. the end
[13:19] <Mod35tBabe> The mysteries Ive read are solved by the protag - ive just also read that a character must solve it and I mentioned it because I havent widely read mysteries
[13:19] <ccwriter> lol
[13:19] <Angelus> Read The Stand
[13:19] <Angelus> That is all you need know about King
[13:19] <blankpage> How about if we all write a film noire detective story right now...going from top to bottom on the chat list, everybody gets one sentence, run-ons and turgid descriptions welcomed?
[13:19] <ccwriter> couldn't get through it, Angelus...he gets too dark for me.
[13:19] <nevada> that's not what this chat is about, blank
[13:20] <Sage> but in a thriller or suspense, the bad guy could reveal himself, by, say kidnapping or attacking the protag
[13:20] <Casiopeia> Some of Stephen King IS decidedly horror ..not all but some
[13:20] <Rich_White> Tally ho!
[13:20] <Mod35tBabe> and I wondered what peoples view on whether the protag had to solve it
[13:20] <CathS> Hi rich
[13:20] <Casiopeia> authors can cross genres
[13:20] <blankpage> just a thought
[13:20] <Mod35tBabe> hi rich
[13:20] <Angelus> You don't get King
[13:20] <ccwriter> hi Rich
[13:20] <Casiopeia> oh but I do
[13:20] <CathS> I don't think the protag does, Mod. I've seen Agatha Christie do stuff where they don't and it works.
[13:20] <Rich_White> How's everyone doing tonight?
[13:20] <Angelus> The horror is not montsers
[13:20] <Sable> hello Rich
[13:20] <blankpage> The Stand was a great read
[13:20] <Mod35tBabe> ah see I knew thered be someone
[13:20] <Angelus> The Horror is us
[13:20] <Sable> I can't read King but I like his movies
[13:20] <blankpage> when I saw it on TV I slit my wrists
[13:21] <Mod35tBabe> I find King a little heavy going sometimes
[13:21] <Casiopeia> anyone who understands what hobbling is from the Kimberly mines of South Africa knows that Misery is a horror novel
[13:21] <CathS> good Rich - we're chatting about Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Horror.
[13:21] <Sage> i think I've read an Agatha Christie where the protag wasn't the sleuth, as well
[13:21] <Mod35tBabe> Rich this is my debut Mystery/Thriller/Suspense chat
[13:21] <Sage> but the sleuth still solved it, I believe
[13:21] * Rich_White does more "dark fantasy" or "gothic horror" than the "Friday the 13th type" horror.
[13:21] <ccwriter> but we discover the mystery from the protags POV,
[13:21] <Angelus> KIng is much smarter than we are
[13:22] <Angelus> Or more determined
[13:22] <Sable> no one is questioning King's intelligence
[13:22] <Angelus> Who was?
[13:23] * ccwriter needs more Glenfiddich
[13:23] * ccwriter goes in search
[13:23] * Rich_White passes ccwriter a bottle
[13:23] <Jed> i rad misery and thought the writing would be pulled to peices in SYW
[13:23] <Mod35tBabe> Rich - I invited horror writers as a general genre so I would assume yours is included
[13:23] * Casiopeia needs a nice Southern Comfort and coke
[13:23] <ccwriter> spoil it with COKE???
[13:23] <Mod35tBabe> I haven't read Misery and saw bits of the movie
[13:23] <Casiopeia> yes Jed...he is not one for "proper" sentences
[13:23] <Casiopeia> cos I like it that way CC
[13:24] <Mod35tBabe> Im reading IT at the moment and some entire paragraphs are heavy going but I found Pet Sematary similar. Carrie however I read easily
[13:24] <Jed> he usses a lot of passive sentences
[13:24] <Casiopeia> Mod..in the movie..she straps some boards to his ankles and breaks them telling him she is going to HOBBLE him...but in the book...Stephen King describe the real process where hobbling is cutting off the feet at the ankle
[13:24] <Casiopeia> that is HORROR
[13:25] <ccwriter> that's grisly
[13:25] <Mod35tBabe> Ive read that the book is far more graphic and grisly then the movie
[13:25] <Casiopeia> exactly and that is why King does write some horror
[13:25] <Mod35tBabe> but in IT he describes the death scenes graphically
[13:25] <Casiopeia> yes Mod the book is very grisly ...it leaves no question in my mind that King can be a master at horror
[13:26] <Mod35tBabe> Oh I think he is
[13:26] * ccwriter thinks there is something to be said for leaving some things to the imagination...
[13:26] <Casiopeia> cc the thing is...they used to do that to the black workers/slaves in the Kimberly Gold mines once they tried to get away...

03-02-2007, 07:24 AM
Second half of the chat:
[13:26] <Casiopeia> they could still dig sitting down
[13:27] <Sable> brb
[13:27] <Mod35tBabe> Yes well the scene in Pet Sematary with the cat when he first finds it, well described but I think he could've left me to think it up by myself cos I dont think I couldve grossed myself out as much as he did lol
[13:27] <Casiopeia> oh I forgot he did Pet Semetary
[13:27] <Casiopeia> how can anyone not recognise he is a horror writer as well...now The Green Mile...that was more of a thriller
[13:27] <Mod35tBabe> I watched half the movie but cos I knew what was coming I had to stop it
[13:27] <Casiopeia> or suspense according to what we have established here
[13:28] <Mod35tBabe> I think suspense more than thriller but also a little paranormal perhaps?
[13:28] <Sage> i agree about it being suspense
[13:28] <ccwriter> me too on the Green Mile
[13:28] <Mod35tBabe> or um... surreal or something - i cant describe the talents John had the way i want to
[13:28] <Casiopeia> and i know people are going to moan about this..but what is the DaVinci Code? supsense? mystery? and no comments going over and over again how peole hate Dan Brown...he is successful that is all I care about
[13:28] <Sage> I haven't read it, tho. Loved the movie
[13:29] <Mod35tBabe> A bit of both I think
[13:29] <Sage> thriller for DVC?
[13:29] <Mod35tBabe> He has to sort out the mystery of what the currator left behind, but it's suspenseful because he could run out of time
[13:29] <Casiopeia> well it does affect the world so to speak
[13:29] <nevada> i think it's closer to a thriller
[13:29] <nevada> than to suspense
[13:30] <ccwriter> hmmmm kind of a mixture...but the pace didn't make it a thriller for me
[13:30] <Casiopeia> *nod* that is what I am thining
[13:30] <Mod35tBabe> I thought Angels and Demons was more of a thriller
[13:30] <Casiopeia> thinking
[13:30] <Casiopeia> it has broader connotations
[13:30] <nevada> only becuase it deals with international organizations and stuff. conspiracies
[13:30] <Casiopeia> yes...
[13:30] <Mod35tBabe> yeah the conspiracy and the albino monk make it a bit more of a thriller
[13:30] <Casiopeia> oh man that guy who played him did a good job of creeping me out
[13:30] <ccwriter> who, the monk?
[13:31] <Casiopeia> yes
[13:31] <Mod35tBabe> Ive seen him in a couple movies and he is quite a good actor
[13:31] <Sable> I'm reading The DaVinci code, almost done but I think it is more suspense
[13:31] <Casiopeia> I got sick when he was doing his penance
[13:31] <ccwriter> he also played the doctor on master and commander
[13:31] <ccwriter> good job
[13:31] <Mod35tBabe> I'd read the DVC twice - i have the illustrated versions of DVC and A&D and I think the pictures made the story that much better
[13:31] <Casiopeia> he was also in A Knight's Tale and A "something mind"
[13:32] <Mod35tBabe> like because say the last supper picture meant little to me.
[13:32] <Mod35tBabe> Yes he was I really liked him in A Knights Tale, hes a diverse actor
[13:33] <ccwriter> you mean because it's a complicated picture and you needed the visual reference, Mod?
[13:33] <Casiopeia> Mod...I have been on religious forum before and after the film came out..and they are so upset about the last supper painting...and when they go on and on about what a hack he is..I laugh and say..no he is very good..he has you all upset
[13:33] <Mod35tBabe> Yes, I went and looked it up online CC, and then I understood properly.
[13:33] <Casiopeia> I think everyone did Mod
[13:34] <Casiopeia> and low and behold..it was AMAZING to see how it is possible
[13:34] <ccwriter> I thought it was a fascinating subject
[13:34] <Mod35tBabe> and looked up other pictures but when I got the illustrated I read it and all of it was clearer. I like dissecting conspiracies wihch is why I enjoyed his books. I don't really notice bad writing or whatever if Im enjoying the story
[13:35] <Sage> me too
[13:35] <Casiopeia> well if we are going to critic someone on bad writing...Stephen KING IS the worst hack of all
[13:35] <Mod35tBabe> and since im not religious it was intriguing to me
[13:35] <ccwriter> lol
[13:35] <Mod35tBabe> TBH i didnt realise dan was a bad writer, i thought he was just as good as others Ive read. Maybe not the best but certainly not the worst. Another author I like is Michael Crichton - I havent read all his books but I really liked Sphere.
[13:36] <ccwriter> I just sent Angels and Demons overseas to my daughter. Wonder if she has it yet...
[13:36] <Casiopeia> I don't care if people want to mock me for it..he is one of the better ones and especially at story telling and keeping you captive..so is David Baldacci
[13:36] <Mod35tBabe> i dont think ive read him casio
[13:37] <ccwriter> I have. He's not bad.
[13:37] <Mod35tBabe> I enjoyed Angels and Demons more in what happened, but DVC because it made me think
[13:37] <Mod35tBabe> Ive heard of David Baldacci but dont think ive read him
[13:37] <Casiopeia> not all of Baldaccis have been good but Saving Faith was excellent
[13:37] <Casiopeia> I believe he wrote Absolute Power
[13:37] <Casiopeia> let me check
[13:37] <Sage> i loved working on the puzzles in DVC
[13:38] <Sage> but I thought A&D was a better novel
[13:38] <Casiopeia> http://davidbaldacci.com/
[13:38] <ccwriter> It moved faster,that's for sure.
[13:38] <Jed> i have DVC, but haven't got past C2.
[13:38] <Sage> it's a good read on a plane :-)
[13:38] <Mod35tBabe> yes I agree sage
[13:39] <Casiopeia> Jed...either you get into the story or you don't
[13:39] <Jed> it's taking a while
[13:39] <Casiopeia> i was interested because of the spin on the story of Jesus and Mary Magdaline
[13:39] <ccwriter> what other Thrilling Suspense Mysteries can we dissect?
[13:39] <Sage> IIRC, I didn't get into it for a couple of chapters
[13:39] <Jed> does that mean i have to keep reading?
[13:39] <Sage> only if you want to
[13:39] <Casiopeia> Yes...Absolute Power...written by Baldacci and made into a major motion picture featured Clint Eastwood I believe
[13:40] <Casiopeia> Absolute power was a thriller
[13:40] <Casiopeia> it was involving the US Gove
[13:40] <ccwriter> and filmed partially in my area
[13:40] <ccwriter> well, at least one scene was filmed here
[13:40] <Casiopeia> is that so? cool
[13:40] <ccwriter> made us famous for about a week
[13:41] <ccwriter> remember when the girl was in the car at the park and it was shoved off the cliff?
[13:41] <Casiopeia> cc...in Salt Lake we are always getting famous now..they call it little hollywood around here...i had a couple movies filmed at my house actually
[13:41] <ccwriter> your house???
[13:41] <Casiopeia> yep
[13:41] <Casiopeia> A local movie for the Mormon Church...
[13:41] <ccwriter> oh my...hope the bathroom was clean!
[13:42] <Mod35tBabe> guys keep to the topic
[13:42] <Mod35tBabe> thanks
[13:42] <Casiopeia> then one with that girl from Sabrina.. I forget what it was called...
[13:44] <Casiopeia> So what kind of writer is Tom Clancy then?
[13:44] <Jed> tom clancy is more of a thriller
[13:44] <Sage> hi, fingers
[13:44] * ^Fingers^ sets mode: -o ^Fingers^
[13:44] <ccwriter> would that be Thriller?
[13:44] <^Fingers^> hi all
[13:45] <ccwriter> Hiya Brian
[13:45] <Mod35tBabe> hi fingers
[13:45] <Sable> hi Fingers
[13:45] <Jed> hi fingers
[13:45] <Mod35tBabe> I do own his Teeth of the tiger or whatever its called
[13:45] <ccwriter> Military Thrillers mostly
[13:45] <nevada> tim clancy is a techno thriller, another subdivision
[13:46] <nevada> hi fingers
[13:46] <Mod35tBabe> Ive owned it for months and haven't read it
[13:47] <Mod35tBabe> what genre would you consider Michael Crichton?
[13:47] <nevada> ive never read anything by chrichton
[13:47] <nevada> but based on jurassic park i'd say he's science thriller
[13:47] <Mod35tBabe> i really liked Prey and Sphere but had trouble getting into andromeda strain
[13:48] <Mod35tBabe> I thought science thriller
[13:48] <ccwriter> He wrote "Prey" as well
[13:48] <ccwriter> which was definitely a science thriller
[13:48] <Mod35tBabe> I thought Prey was really good - I liked learning about the nano technology
[13:48] <ccwriter> yeah, the nano was nifty
[13:49] * CathS has quit IRC (Quit: It's behind you! Oh, sorry, that was just your shadow. )
[13:49] <Mod35tBabe> i thought it was nicely paced too
[13:50] <JBI> I didn't get passed the first few pages on the Amazon preview of Prey. His writing style just didn't agree with me.
[13:51] <Mod35tBabe> I did find it a little tough in sections that I didnt understand ie nano technology but if i re-read it i was okay
[13:52] <ccwriter> I really enjoyed reading another series recently...Odd Thomas
[13:52] <ccwriter> then Forever Odd and Brother Odd
[13:52] <JBI> I really just cannot read science fiction, or fantasy for that matter, much anymore.
[13:52] <Mod35tBabe> I don't know of odd thomas series
[13:53] <ccwriter> I would consider those more in the suspense/thriller category
[13:53] <Mod35tBabe> I didnt think I could read science fiction either and mostly i can't, but michaels i can read some of
[13:53] <ccwriter> but the way he wrote was charming
[13:54] <Mod35tBabe> I used to read a lot of RL stine books when I was younger - I suspect much of that accounts for my love of horror books now.
[13:54] <Sage> I loved Stine
[13:54] <Sage> & Christopher Pike too
[13:54] <ccwriter> Dean Koontz
[13:54] <Mod35tBabe> i still read him now and then - goosebumps books are good time fillers like if u want to fill in half an hour. I like fear street sagas the best though
[13:54] <Sable> Stine did the Goosebump series , right?
[13:55] <ccwriter> yes
[13:55] <Mod35tBabe> Considering the hundreds of books I read Im surprised how few authors Ive read.
[13:55] <Mod35tBabe> Yes sable, and fear street books for kids from 11-14 and then fear street sagas for 14-16
[13:56] <ccwriter> My kids were really into Goosebumps there for a while
[13:56] <ccwriter> but they grew up :)
[13:56] <Peter> the bumps did, or the kids?
[13:56] <Sable> Goosebumps was a great intro for kids
[13:56] <ccwriter> lol...Kids, PT
[13:56] <Sage> my sis read goosebumps, while I read Fear Street
[13:56] <Mod35tBabe> Goosebumps was one of the few books my bf would read so I got him to read Fear street saga and he managed to finish it
[13:57] <ccwriter> 5mglss cat on the keyboard!
[13:57] <Mod35tBabe> id like to be as popular as r.l stine - i think he really encourages reading, long before j.k rowling ddi
[14:02] <Peter> everyone, let's give Mod35tBabe a big round of applause!
[14:02] <Sandy> what happened mod?
[14:02] * Peter changes topic to 'Committed to writers and writing. Visit the watercooler forums at http://absolutewrite.com/forums/ '
[14:02] <Sage> yay, Mod
[14:02] <Mod35tBabe> 4thank you for joining me on my debut MTS chat
[14:02] <JBI> Did I miss something? What happend with MOd.
[14:02] * KraziDiamond applauds not knowing why .. but hey! :)
[14:02] <Peter> y'all come back in two weeks for MTS #2
[14:02] <Sandy> woooohooo!
[14:03] <Sable> Mod hosted her first ever live chat

03-02-2007, 07:29 AM
I missed it! *sniffle* Congrats on what looks like a successful first-ever chat, Mod! :D

Soccer Mom
03-02-2007, 07:55 AM
Congrats Mod. SOrry I missed it. I've got soccer on Thurs nights, but soccer season can't last forever.

03-02-2007, 10:39 AM
For an inaugural event, this one was excellent! I think your MTS chat is gonna surpass the SF/F chat in popularity, I really do. Congratulations, Mod!

And the rest of you suspenseful mystery thrillies, be there in two weeks or be square!

03-03-2007, 02:25 AM
Go, Mod! I missed this one (farewell get-together with a friend who is moving out of state this week), but I'll try to make the next. I am not a writer of thrillers or suspenses, but discussing the techniques involved could still be pretty darned useful for anything!



Good Word
03-03-2007, 02:28 AM

03-03-2007, 04:51 PM
Thanks guys. Soccer mom, our season's starting soon so yours must be nearly finished so you can come soon. I'm hoping to see you at the next one, drachin. I won't argue in the slightest if it is that popular, Peter, really I wouldn't.
Thanks for letting me run it I appreciate it :)

Moon Daughter
03-09-2007, 12:11 AM
When's the next one? On the 15th?

03-10-2007, 03:12 PM
Yep - it's posted in the calendar so you can send yourself reminders. Suggestions for topics anyone??

Moon Daughter
03-12-2007, 07:46 PM
I didn't really get a chance to read through the chatroom discussion...but an idea I guess could be the element of surprise? I don't know. Just an idea.

03-15-2007, 10:27 PM
Anyone know what time the chat is tonight? It says 9 p.m. EST on this thread, but the little announcement thingy says 10 p.m. - and I don't know if that's EST. I want to try and make this one... missed the last one. Looked like fun. :D

03-16-2007, 04:40 AM
The chat is scheduled for 9:00 PM EST tonight, Thursday, March 16. The chat room is open. People await in anticipation. But there is, as of yet, no topic set, and Mod35tbabe, your host, doesn't seem to be online.

But do come anyway, and maybe something will develop.

03-28-2007, 05:40 AM
Chat transcript from last week - I hadn't had time before today to do it. Sorry guys

* Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic: ???'
<tjwriter> lol, yep. I'm debating whether or not I'm going to keep my husband.
<Peter> I'll leave that message up for another 15 minutes. If there isn't a MST conversation going by then, we'll consider the chat cancelled for this week.
<StoneTable> tjwriter: it sounds like you got a defective model ;)
<tjwriter> MST huh?
<Casiopeia> Mystery/suspense/thriller
<Casiopeia> we are scheduled to have a discussion on it
<tjwriter> I know. I'm just trying to think of something that is MST. I phrased that poorly
<Shwebb> MST3K?
<tjwriter> I'm also trying to do my state taxes
<tjwriter> which is a mystery all of its own
<Shwebb> I use tax software for the federal.
<Peter> it's on the calendar.
<Peter> but the host for it is absent.
<tjwriter> I want to write some fantasy along the lines of Tamara Siler
Jones-type stuff. Part fantasy, part procedural mystery.
<tjwriter> I hope she's okay.
<JBI> :p
<Peter> she is prone to periods of forgetfulness
<tjwriter> Oh
<tjwriter> My daughter is on her way home. She's been one-of-a-kind today.
<Peter> hey hey.
<Casiopeia> hello QueenB
<JBI> How old is your daughter?
<Daehota> Hi, QB
<tjwriter> 13 months
<JBI> Hello QueenB
<QueenB> Hi, everyone
<tjwriter> heya QB
<Peter> QueenB has agreed to host the MST chat tonight.
<nevada-knitting> hi queen
<SirOwlpen> hello QB :)
<QueenB> Nickie!
<QueenB> hi, there
<SirOwlpen> all well?
<Daehota> TY
* Peter wonders if we should tell her there isn't a topic
<QueenB> yes, busy as all get out
<JBI> Topic? Is there a specific chat now?
<SirOwlpen> get out of what?
<Peter> there is, JBI.
<Daehota> Might be a good idea, Peter.
<Peter> or there is one scheduled.
<JBI> (which is?)
<QueenB> I have a topic that we can chew on.
<Peter> Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum chat.
<Peter> the floor is yours, Pat.
<QueenB> What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
<Peter> lol
<QueenB> orrrrr
<JBI> The chicken.
<Peter> yeah, orrrrrr
<QueenB> character or plot
<QueenB> which comes first in mystery, suspense, thriller?
<Casiopeia> let's talk about character
* Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic: Character or Plot--which comes first?'
<Casiopeia> oh i see that was a question
<Casiopeia> :)
<JBI> Plot, most characters in thrillers and mysteries are very
<Daehota> Or one could have a character-driven plot.
<Casiopeia> JBI how are they stereotypical and what characteristics do they share in common ?
<JBI> Mystery or thriller?
<Casiopeia> both or either
<JBI> Mystery, you have your detective, your crimminal, and your other assembled asorted characters. For the most part, we focus on the detective, or his side kick (often they have a sidekick because the story simply cannot be told through the mind of the inspector due to him knowing the answer before the conclusion ruining the suspence).
<JBI> The rest of the chrarcters are there as red-herrings, or as inocent people, proven innocent throughout the book, or ending up dead.
<JBI> The other character, the villain generally remains the same, somewhat "criminal".
<QueenB> sounds very formulaic
<JBI> That's the mystery/.
<Casiopeia> JBI unless we have a gangster/mystery in which case usually the bad guy can often times have a duality to him/her
<JBI> Generally, in the mystery the reader needs to feel that the crimminal is guilty, whereas if he is completely innocent, the story ends in something unbecoming to the reader.
<Casiopeia> but can't the criminal have good elements to their character? conflicted...should they stay a bad guy or change their mind and become a good guy?
<QueenB> I think most bad guys have to have some quality that makes them believable.
<nevada-knitting> no person is completely evil. so every bad guy should have some good qualities if you want him to be three-dimensional. Even Hitler had a genuine love of animals
<nevada-knitting> so if you concentrate on plot and dont worry about character, then you have the very formula that JBI described
<nevada-knitting> hi festus
<Festus> Hi Nev, everyone
<Festus> Yay, got the story sent off!
<nevada-knitting> but on the other hand if you concentrate on character and totally ignore plot, then you've got a bunch of 3 dimensional characters standing around twiddling their thumbs
<nevada-knitting> excellent, festus
<Daehota> Hello, Festus
<Festus> Hi Dae!
<Daehota> Bravo!
<Festus> ty
<tjwriter> hi festus. Good job!
<Skarpz> my last story was a plot without character delopment
<Festus> ty
<Skarpz> nice festus
<Festus> ty
<QueenB> hi, festus
<Festus> Hi Queen B!
<Daehota> I can't do that. I want to like my guy or gal, although, of course we're talking quirky in some ways.
<Festus> Uh, I think I'm gonna take off, I didn't know you all where into something.
<Daehota> Which means character dev
<QueenB> Either the character moves the plot, or the plot moves the character
<Casiopeia> Ever consider the main character in Casablanca? He was actually a bad guy. But he did good things...
<Casiopeia> Maybe we should ask the question, what saves a story? A good character or a good plot. Can you have a good story with just one or the other or do you need both?
<Skarpz> I think you can have a good story with just good characters
<nevada-knitting> hi vaughn
<swvaughn> hi nevada
<Skarpz> hey swvaughn
<swvaughn> and skarpz
<swvaughn> and everyone
<nevada-knitting> you can have a good story with just one or the other, but it won't ever be great.
<swvaughn> I vote for characters... what are we talking about? :D
<Daehota> Well, if you can figure out the end, you may not care about reading through to the end. But if you don't like the character or don't care about HIM, you won't anyway.
<nevada-knitting> i think they're too interconnected to separate them.
<nevada-knitting> you cant have a chicken without an egg, but you can't have an egg without a chicken, so to speak
<Skarpz> who's HIM?
<Daehota> Yep, in a nutshell, nevknit
<Daehota> YOur charactere
<Daehota> Sorry
<swvaughn> an evil powerpuff girls villain? lol
<Skarpz> exactly
<swvaughn> I love HIM
<swvaughn> so... are we talking character vs plot here?
<Daehota> Pretty much, yes.
<swvaughn> cool.
<swvaughn> we did a thing in another chat where everyone described their favorite character they've ever written - anyone game?
<Skarpz> I'm playing a game sorry
<swvaughn> what kinda game? :)
<Skarpz> browser based
<Skarpz> and I was playing a little free warcraft, it sucked though
<Skarpz> anyways
<swvaughn> didn't know there was free wow!
<Skarpz> my favorite character was ruler of a galzy and his room
<swvaughn> I'm stalling. supposed to be editing.
<swvaughn> he's the ruler of his room? LOL
<Skarpz> http://www.123games.dk/game/strategy/warcraft/warcraft_eng.php
<Skarpz> he's cleaning his room
<swvaughn> oooh, thanks for the link!
<Skarpz> and destroying a univers
<swvaughn> sounds like fun, destroying universes...
<Skarpz> then he gets captured
<Peter> so, are we done with the Mystery Thriller Suspense forum chat?
<Skarpz> I was describing a character and plot
<swvaughn> no, it's just me and skarpz are the only ones chatting at the moment. Hi peter!
<Skarpz> but not the right one
<swvaughn> hey, it's a character and plot. that works.
<Skarpz> I think we may be done because it's only two of us really talking
<Peter> ok, it's just that I didn't see anything to do with writing
mysteries, suspenses or thrillers..
<swvaughn> yeah, looks like everyone ditched. want to talk suspense thrilers, peter?
* Peter thought it looked a lot like talking about games ;-)
<swvaughn> I'm still game.
<Skarpz> i was relating it to character versus plot but I didn't know how to get to mst
<Peter> it isn't my genre...I do the SF/F chats alternate Thursdays.
<tjwriter> Sorry. My daughter came home. Very distracting when mixed with state tax returns.
<swvaughn> I think games are relevant b/c role playing games can help witth characterization.
<Skarpz> I am reading a mystery
<swvaughn> Hi tj
<Peter> what happened to QueenB?
<swvaughn> *shrug* I got here late
<swvaughn> what are you reading, skarpz?
<Skarpz> they haven't figured out where a character has gone
<Skarpz> they wonder if the ministry is being taken over
<tjwriter> I want to mix fantasy with mystery. There's an idea floating
around somewhere.
<Skarpz> Harry Potter 5 is what I am reading at the moment
<swvaughn> harry potter is a mystery? :)
<swvaughn> Oh, I guessed that! just didn't type fast enough.
<Peter> I would say that most fantasies are in fact mysteries of some
<swvaughn> TJ, traditional fantasy or urban fantasy?
<swvaughn> Yeah, like David Gemmel. love him.
<tjwriter> I don't know. I like the procedurals that Tamara Siler Jones does. Very interesting for me because I was a huge Patricia Cornwell fan.
<Daehota> DeLint and Gaimen
<swvaughn> have you read anything by Monica... um...Jackson?
<nevada-knitting> a good urban fantasy/mystery is Unshapely Things by
somebody Del Franco
<swvaughn> kind of a romance mystery fantasy thing
<nevada-knitting> really plays with our myths of good elves and fairies and stuff
<swvaughn> ooh, that sounds fun!
<StoneTable> I like urban fantasy. I need to finish the one I've been writing
<swvaughn> what are you working on Stone?
<StoneTable> just experimenting with urban fantasy
<StoneTable> or was
<Daehota> Thanks, nevada!Oh, do!
<swvaughn> cool. I think it's good for writers to expand into other
<Daehota> That was weird
<Daehota> How's it going, ST?
<Peter> all right. Since the main hostess for MST chat wasn't here, and QueenB seems to have fallen asleep, I'm gonna change main topic back to general chat. Just go ahead and carry on with things as normal. :-)

04-20-2007, 02:31 PM
Today's chat
* Mod35tBabe changes topic to 'Absolutewrite's Official Mystery Thriller Suspense Forum Live Chat '
* ChanServ changes topic to 'Committed to writers and writing. Visit the watercooler forums at http://absolutewrite.com/forums/ (Peter) '
<Ascendant> interesting
<Mod35tBabe> told ya itd do that the stupid thing
<Tamara> hmm, i'm not sure what all of the topic stuff means, I'm new here, but I'm very happy to be involved with the MTS chat, with or without the topic name
<nevada> mod, you have something you want to discuss?
<Mod35tBabe> :) just means I dont have rights to change it thats why it changed it back again. thanks tamara. Do we have a topic for it?
<arrowqueen> Doesn't make a blind bit of difference. Still us!
<Tamara> Who moderates the forum? Is it you Mod?
<Mod35tBabe> no idont
<Tamara> oh, okay.
<Mod35tBabe> i just get a few rights in here to run the chat
<Tamara> ahhh! Run the chat. Cool.
<Tamara> Topic... hmmmm...
<Tamara> Is anybody here writing any mystery/thriller stuff at the mo?
<Mod35tBabe> i am sort of
<Sable> not me, for now I'm stuck with a poetic muse
<nevada> im halfway through an action/adventure
<arrowqueen> Well done everyone!
<arrowqueen> Variety's te spice of life.
<Tamara> What about you arrowqueen? What are you up to?
<Sable> that's for sure aq
<Wordman> Same here Sable, I'm not a mystery writer, not that kind of brain.
<arrowqueen> Same as always. Three shorts a week.
<Mod35tBabe> ive actually got 2 and one is going to be much more mystery than the other
<Sable> I've not tried mystery yet
<Sable> hmmm I wonder, how about erotic mystery... aq?
* Ascendant perks up, "Someone say erotic?"
<arrowqueen> Nah. Just the historical BDSM.
<arrowqueen> Written bugger all in the novels since the fire.
<Tamara> Thought of a topic for the forum yet Mod? Any problems or situation that you'd like to tease out from your current mystery writing?
<Mod35tBabe> yeah actually
<Tamara> cool! ?
<Mod35tBabe> the scenes with police in both mine Im really struggling to make it sound right - years of watching detective shows have not apparently sunken in
<Tamara> is the dialogue? The setting? Characters?
<Tamara> or plot?
<Mod35tBabe> i think mostly the dialogue and how they run the investigations is just not what I want it to be
<Tamara> Interesting.
<arrowqueen> yep
<Tamara> Anybody here got any thoughts on it?
<Tamara> I'm keen to hear more about the story, plot etc. Can you tell me where the stories set?
<arrowqueen> Ni
<Ascendant> Have you thought about trying to find real transcripts of interrogations or example investigations?
<Tamara> Where can you get access to those transcripts ascendant?
<Mod35tBabe> well in one story the MC is set up for the murder of her husband, and in the other the MC is um... will sorta figure out the mystery but isnt actually a detective, but her ex is a detective and she manages to squeeze details out of him - i spose a bit like janet evanovichs in that stephanie isnt a cop but she solves the mysteries anyway
<Mod35tBabe> good idea ascendant
<CathS> Hey!
<CathS> Busy in here
<Mod35tBabe> hi cath
<Ascendant> Old school ones can sometimes be found at libraries or other public record areas.
<Sable> hi Cath
<Mod35tBabe> welcome to my chat :)
<CathS> :) Hey folks, Hey Mod - sorry - carry on.
<Mod35tBabe> hmm ill have to go have a look and see if I can find any
<Tamara> Hey cath
<arrowqueen> Hi, Cath
<Mod35tBabe> this chat cath Mystery Thriller Suspense Forum Official Live Chat - i just cant change topic but feel free to join in
<CathS> What are you discussing?
<Tamara> I've just finished an english detective kinda novel in the same vein. The cops don't figure it out, its the female protaganist that does the hard yards herself.
<Mod35tBabe> at the moment how Im struggling to write police investigation scenes
<Mod35tBabe> Thats the sort I mean - I dont know how to write it so the protag figures it out but obviously at times needs to get information off the police she cant get to
<CathS> Mole on the inside?
<Tamara> thus you're using the ex detective husband as a lever yeah?
<Mod35tBabe> yes
<Tamara> ahuh, are you happy using that tool?
<Tamara> I mean, is that working for the story?
<Mod35tBabe> for the moment it seems to be
<Tamara> cool
<Tamara> but it's the dialogue between the police and the protaganist that your having difficulty with?
<Tamara> or just the investigations from the police end of things
<Mod35tBabe> a bit of both i think
<Tamara> Have you started hanging out at cop shops and stuff? Made any connections with anybody from the force?
<nevada> lol i have a vision of mod and tamara stalking the local cops

04-20-2007, 02:32 PM
<arrowqueen> lol
<Tamara> hah!!!
<nevada> hi scriptwriter
<Mod35tBabe> Lol no i havent tried that though my bf is friends with a copper but itd help if I knew what I wanted to ask him
<Mod35tBabe> hi scriptwritier
<Tamara> Hey why not? ;)
<Sable> hello scriptwriter
<arrowqueen> hi, scrip
<Tamara> hey sc!
<scriptwriter> hey to all
<arrowqueen> brb,. fag
<Tamara> I guess I thought if you started to hang out with coppers, undercover detectives etc, you might find a freshness and confidence in your dialogue
<Tamara> I'm sure that if your boy is mates with a copper than you could definately use him as your door into the scene
<Tamara> Sounds kinda silly I know, but it'd be dead interesting.
<Ascendant> If you'd like, I can go talk to one of my cop friends at work and see if I can get some info.
<Ascendant> Come back tomorrow or email you.
<Mod35tBabe> I just dunno that theyd appreciate me hanging around as such. Ive asked him a couple times about it but because they do basketball together my bf tends to be worrying about reffing the game more than asking if I can "interview" him
<CathS> Hey Festus, hey musha`bein
<musha`bein> Heya.
<Tamara> Yeah! I've got a friend who's an undercover detective in one of the roughest parts of Sydney, she'd certainly have a few stories to share
<Mod35tBabe> yeah okay ascendant - I dont need it to be exactly like it but it'd be good I think to make it sound plausible
<Festus> Howdy Cath, Musha
<musha`bein> Hey. :)
<musha`bein> This is a writing room?
<Mod35tBabe> hi festus, musha welcome to Absolutewrite's Official Mystery Thriller Suspense Forum Live Chat
<Sable> hello musha
<Festus> Thanks Mod
<musha`bein> Heya.
<Sable> hi festus
<Festus> Hi Sable
<musha`bein> Oh...
<musha`bein> It's just for mystery?
<Mod35tBabe> No
<Mod35tBabe> for the next half hour it is
<musha`bein> ahh..
<Mod35tBabe> because Im running my chat but after that its normal chat
* musha`bein nods.
<Ascendant> Java is EVIL I tell you
<Sable> lol
<Festus> lol
<Mod35tBabe> lol so dont use it i hate java
<Ascendant> Mod, would you like me to email you or just meet up here tomorrow?
<musha`bein> Java in the parlour... with a lead pipe.
<Mod35tBabe> oh tomorrows saturday for me I mightnt be online
<Mod35tBabe> better to email me I think
<musha`bein> It is about writing, but in movie form, and yes, a mystery.
<arrowqueen> l?
<Shwebb> Hi, Mod
<Mod35tBabe> ok musha
<musha`bein> Well, the movie 'Gosford Park'
<musha`bein> Have you ever seen it?
<Mod35tBabe> ah yes I sort of recall seeing it
<Mod35tBabe> Im a bit vague on details though
<arrowqueen> k
<musha`bein> Well, and upstairs/downstairs affair, where everyone of the nobles, wanted the old mans money.
<musha`bein> :)
<musha`bein> Actually, in the end... it turned out that he was murdered...twice.
<musha`bein> Someone poisoned him, and then he was stabbed.
<Mod35tBabe> yes i remember that
<Mod35tBabe> Absolutewrite's Official Mystery Thriller Suspense Forum Live Chat is officially over thanks for participating

05-04-2007, 06:09 AM
<Sable> help Mod out.. do you have a suggestion for tonight's topic
<SnowStalker> The key to suspense.
<Sable> ah
<Sable> how about it Mod
<Sable> hi Fingers
<Mod35tBabe> sounds good
<Jed> hi brian
<^Fingers^> hi all
<Sable> ta-dah
<Sable> we have a topic
<Kim> howdy brian
<Mod35tBabe> hi fingers
<Sable> The key to suspense is ......................
<Sable> not knowing what will happen
<Jed> waiting
<Sable> LOL
<^Fingers^> a four pin schlage
<Mod35tBabe> but it should have tension, its not like waiting in a queue
<Jed> you have to build it up
<Jed> it's like building a house
<Sable> one stud at a time
<Jed> you dont know what the roof is going to look like until you have built the rest of the house
<Mod35tBabe> very true i didnt know i was going to kill a character until id killed her so i quite literally had no idea at the start what would happen
<Jed> i think sometimes the problem is how much of the story and how quickly you reveal the info to the reader
* SnowStalker nods, "very true."
<Sable> If given too soon, it loses it's suspense and becomes predictable
<Sable> therefore, losing the reader
<Jed> yes exactly and it is an art to be able to get it right, timing is everything
<Mod35tBabe> thats the trouble in a short story is building up enough tension wihtin a few words
<Sable> many twists, unexpected works best
<Mod35tBabe> yeah - a lot of stories have the same twists but a good writer will make u unaware its the same twist you've read before
<Sable> Did anyone see the movie The Game with Michale Douglas?
<Mod35tBabe> uh im not sure
<Jed> i did, it was very good, and i didnt see the ending coming either
<Sable> The only movie to keep me guessing right up until the end
<Sable> I loved it because of that
<Jed> that one had a lot of twist, back and forth, you were never quite sure what it was going to end with
<Sable> yes
<Sable> you never knew what he had in mind next
<Sable> and it was never what you thought
<dal> what genre is that movie?
<Mod35tBabe> i dont think i recall that movie at all
<Sable> Did you see the movie The Game, with Michael Douglas, Nev?
<Sable> what genre would you say
<nevada> yes i have
<nevada> with sean penn
<nevada> thriller
<Sable> yes
<Sable> k
<nevada> actually more suspense
<nevada> yeah i would call it suspense
<Sable> that is the topic
<Sable> I thought it was one of the best suspense movies ever
<Kim> would you consider the departed a suspence
<nevada> i enjoyed it
<Kim> suspense
<nevada> no, the departed is a crime novel
<nevada> movie
<Kim> but it IS suspenseful
<nevada> it's crime genre
<Sable> based on a true story
<nevada> yes it is suspenseful but it's not suspense
<dal> i liked 'the usual suspects'
<Kim> it is a cross genre
<nevada> havent seen it
<Mod35tBabe> i havent seen it either
<SnowStalker> Sorry for the late responce, The Game was awesome, I also enjoyed Basic
<dal> me too. books take longer to read, and include more details and description. movies are like, the dessert
<dal> ,to see, another person's perspective, of the book
<dal> do people wonder, if i am really speaking?
<Sable> LOL
<dal> no, it is a bot i wrote to substitute me
<Sable> I agree with you
<Mod35tBabe> yeah i agree as well - except for times when its obvious nobody on the film has the slightest gist of what the books is about - some movies are done so sloppily.
<dal> yes well, movies aren't the easiest thing to make (especially with a tight budget)
<Mod35tBabe> I think we can basically say the MTS chat is over - thanks for coming :)
<Sable> Thanks for hosting, Mod
<Mod35tBabe> :)

05-18-2007, 10:09 AM
Tonight's chat:
* Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic:'
<nevada-knitting> just a wee
<Angelus> I think I can get that bird to run off a cliff
<CathS> How about setting as character, Mod?
<Mod35tBabe> sounds good cath
<CathS> How it contributes to teh plot and all that?
<CathS> everyone happy with that one?
<Sable> sure
<nevada-knitting> sure
<Angelus> yes
* Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic: Setting as Character'
<Peter> ok, so it's set
<Peter> but
<Peter> WTF does it mean?
<Sable> LOL
<CathS> Ok - so how important do you think setting is in mystery/suspense/thriller?
<CathS> Well, how does the physical location and it's characteristics affect the plot.
<Angelus> Do you mean the locked room thing?
<CathS> kinda
* Peter was kind of under the opinion that you have "setting" and in it you put your "characters" ... but never considered using the setting as a character
<CathS> really?
<Sable> lol
<misslissy> well setting doesn't have to be in a locked room
<Angelus> no
<CathS> I think the setting defines the atmosphere of the novel.
<Angelus> And the setting can be characters
<CathS> if you do it well.
<Peter> but it isn't a character...it's places and stuff. Buildings, rooms, roads, weather.
<misslissy> I agree with Cath, it sets the whole atmosphere and the mood
<Angelus> Say, we got Proffesor Wendall
<Sable> it helps the reader to get into the story, visualize what and where
<Peter> is he the one with the lead pipe in the library?
<Angelus> sure
<Mod35tBabe> a thriller isnt half as thrilling set on a sunny beautiful day in a neighbourhood
<CathS> eg. small country villages for cosy mysteries etc
<Angelus> Candlestick
<CathS> exactly - however, overdoing the weather thing can be annoying.
<Peter> agree, Mod, but that still doesn't make the "setting" a character.
<Peter> I think Cath needs to 'splain
<Peter> a lot
<Angelus> I would want to do it all, thunderstorms and all that
<nevada-knitting> ah but mod maybe it is. on a beautiful sunny day in a good neighbourhood, evil is unexpected and therefore worse when it happens
<CathS> OK - give me a sec
<Angelus> or a sunny day
<Mod35tBabe> but how often do you read a beutiful sunny day? at least when the height of the action is happening
<Angelus> Then let us be original
<Sable> Peter, maybe rephrased it would make sense
<CathS> I'm thinking of, for example, how Ian Rankin uses Edinburgh as a character in his Rebus novels. He uses teh contradictory nature of teh city (very rich and very very poor) to create contrast and interest
<Sable> instead of setting being character, how does it enhance ?
<misslissy> it would be definately an unexpected twist
<CathS> it gives the stories a unique quality that set them apart from other detective stories
<misslissy> I think because we always connect certain settings with certain happenings, our settings could twist that in the mind of the reader, saying that this could happen here, even though most would chose another maybe more seculded/scary location
<CathS> good point sable - that may be a better way of thinking about it
<Angelus> A sunny day. "Hello, Malfoy, I am your best friend." Then splat with violence
<Sable> so basically, it is more of how does the setting affect the characters, and overall story
<CathS> Yes, I think so
<Angelus> It is all equal
<Sable> Does that work for you Peter :)
<Peter> no
<Sable> really?
<Peter> well, Cath's explanation doesn't
<Peter> yours is better.
<Sable> I meant mine..sheesh
<CathS> I believe environment has a lot to do with personality. A disenfranchised youth for example doesn't grow up surrounded by opportunity.
<Peter> I don't disagree.
<Peter> but the environment isn't a "character"
<CathS> Heh - have you read teh rebus novels, peter?
<Sable> Cath , he is stuck on that... hehe
<Peter> it has characteristics. attributes, but it can't "feel" or react
<CathS> My shift isn't working. :(
<CathS> Can't it?
<Peter> nope
<Peter> people react to it
<Peter> it does what it does without any sentience.
<Peter> a character needs to be sentinent
<Peter> s**t sentient
<CathS> Ok, I don't believe a city is a collection of buildings. i believe it's a living entity - the people make up the city. The people react - the city reacts.
<Peter> ahhhhhhh
<CathS> perhaps it's a matter of perception.
<Peter> now you're talking about PEOPLE
<Angelus> Unless you really believe in the characters you are writing, I think you got a problem
<CathS> Well, kinda - but people in a collective
<Angelus> Doesn't matter if it is mice or anything
<Peter> the streets of NYC aren't the character-- it's the bums and whores and drug dealers and cops and business men in suits that are the character
<Angelus> What do you love?
<nevada-knitting> i agree with cath. environment can be a character
<Angelus> I do too
<nevada-knitting> for example, in ummm crap i cant think of the novel
<CathS> ... ?
<CathS> heh
* Sable will regret this
<Sable> I agree with Peter
<CathS> No reason you should Sable, but I'd like to hear why
* Peter makes a mark in the air

05-18-2007, 10:10 AM
<nevada-knitting> takes place in india, mrs moore
<Sable> lol
<nevada-knitting> em forster
<CathS> Jewel in the Crown
<Angelus> NYC isn't about whores and drug dealers
<nevada-knitting> Passage to Indai
<nevada-knitting> india
<CathS> Passage to India,,
<Peter> I didn't say it was, Angelus
<Angelus> Ever been there?
<CathS> heh
<Angelus> sorry
<CathS> Yes, I agree in that case, nev
<Sable> because, as he said,without characters, people, a city is just buildings and such
<nevada-knitting> India is a character in that movie. it influences people, it determines things
<misslissy> I do too, because in a way, the environment will be effected by the characters and the characters will effect the enviroment just as they effect one another
<nevada-knitting> just like in jewel in the crown
<CathS> Or Gormenghast
<CathS> The setting has a huge influence on the story.
* Peter goes off to prepare his argument in a somewhat more relaxed mode than one line at a time with everyone else talking
<Sable> right, people affect the environment
<CathS> lol.
<JBI> I disagree.
<misslissy> wrong affect I think I knew that about half way through and kept writing anyways
<JBI> People are shaped by the environmnet.
<Angelus> Peter is egocentric I think
<Sable> yes Cath , setting is as important to the story as are the characters
<CathS> yes, but it's a kind of shorthand for the writer to use the generalised "situation" as a character, instead of outlining the stories in it.
<Angelus> You all are right
<CathS> Heh. Fence sitter.
<Sable> lol
<JBI> :p
* Sable gives angelus a shove
<Angelus> It doesn't matter, a story is a story
<misslissy> the difference between settings can be crucial
<Angelus> Moi? A fence sitter?
<Angelus> Really?
<Sable> Cath , this is not meant to be argumentative, just going to give you an example
<Sable> k
<CathS> k
<Sable> If a story is written about say , a setting , how interesting would it be without people?>
* lastlight (javachat@Star163787.253.124.222.Dial1.Cincinnati1 .Level3.net) has joined #absolutewrite
<nevada-knitting> so, instead of arguing about it
<Peter> A story is about a character. That is, by definition, a person. The person is placed in a setting, ie: a jail room, a battle, in the back booth of a restaurant. The setting may include lots of things, like the environment (as mentioned above).
<nevada-knitting> we should just read this
<Mod35tBabe> hi last light, frank
<Peter> There might be a tornado that ruins the character's house, and threatens the character's life. But the tornado itself is NOT a character. It is a hurdle placed in the path of the character on her way to accomplishing a goal, ie: the thing that character most wants and about which the story is written.
<nevada-knitting> http://www.atfantasy.com/view/86
<CathS> Ever read Invisible Cities?
<Sable> yet, you can write a story about people, without giving a lot of setting
<nevada-knitting> peter, just click on teh link
<nevada-knitting> guys, im telling you
<JBI> I would say of the 3, plot is the least important, and character the most.
<Angelus> Yes
<CathS> The city is the central character.
<Angelus> great one
<nevada-knitting> essay on setting as character
<Angelus> Italo Calvino
<CathS> heh.

<Peter> hey Angelus
<nevada-knitting> peter, tornado is not a setting
<Peter> know what?
<lastlight> what?!
<lastlight> plot least?
<Frank777> Hi Angelus, Cath, Miss
<Angelus> The Non-Existent Knight and The Cloven VisCount was good too
<Sable> hi Frank
<lastlight> wow, that seems a bit absurd
<Peter> all your little single line comments are really rather disruptive, because they cause the stuff people want to read to scroll off.
<JBI> Yeah, just look at some of the modernist books.
<Peter> maybe you could hold that down to a dull roar, eh?
<nevada-knitting> oh well im so sorry we are missing your pearls of wisdom peter
<JBI> Some of them essentially have no plot, and are purely character/setting driven.
<nevada-knitting> but tornado is not setting
<nevada-knitting> we are talking about a country or a house
<Frank777> Hi sable
<misslissy> tornado is an event
<nevada-knitting> and if you'd read the link i posted, maybe he makes some points for your questioins
<Peter> someone mentioned "the environment"
<lastlight> a princess with a personality in a mediviel kingdom
<nevada-knitting> http://www.atfantasy.com/view/86
<lastlight> there, a character and setting
<lastlight> but where's the prince to rescue her, and the plot of the evil witch behind it?
<JBI> In fantasy plot is more important; but in other books it isn't as important.
<lastlight> it would be so in Mystery
<CathS> Imagine a horror set in a modern busy house, for example. Wouldn't have the same effect as one set in an isolated old mansion. :)
<nevada-knitting> http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/fiction/2004/12/setting_as_char.html
<Fools> :|
<nevada-knitting> there's antoher one
<lastlight> Sherlock Holmes is an amazing character
<Peter> Nevada, thanks for the link. I just don't happen to agree.
* Peter shrugs
<misslissy> not the enviroment as in the actual weather, but the enviroment as in - like how you can grow up in a good enviroment/bad enviroment type thing . . does that make sense?
<lastlight> but, Sir Doyle needed good plots, which he provided
<CathS> Great link, btw Nev.
<nevada-knitting> well peter, literature professors everywhere disagree with you
<CathS> Life would be boring if we agreed. :)
<nevada-knitting> second link is good too
<Peter> I'll be back later
<CathS> OK. So do any of you use setting to influence your plots?
<nevada-knitting> i do. totally
<JBI> Back. sorry turns out jeopardy is on at 10:30.
<CathS> Heh.
<Frank777> I do...my setting influences a lot
<JBI> Yes, I do.
<JBI> Setting is the biggest influence.
<misslissy> depends on what the plot is for me
<Mod35tBabe> i think i use setting to influence my plot
<CathS> So how do you do it?
<CathS> Do you plan out the setting along with the characters?
<Frank777> If you write fantasy, then the setting will usually influence your plot.
<JBI> Bring people in, change the setting.
* CathS does.
<misslissy> first I decide on my characters and then I decide on where they would be set
<misslissy> you can't just set down any characters in any setting without good reason
<CathS> Agreed
<Frank777> I actually came up with the story first and setting second....I should have planned more from the beginning
<JBI> :p
<CathS> Hey Tau
<TauCeti> Hi all
<JBI> I came up with characters first, then setting, then plot, then new setting once I ditched the whole fantasy bit.
<misslissy> I think I go in the order either plot or characters first, depending on the idea I have and then setting - setting always comes last for me because it has to tie in with everything else
<CathS> Heh. How did the setting change after you changed genre, JBI?
<JBI> Well, I still have a fictional setting; there just is no fantasy, meaning it isn't medieval anymore.

05-18-2007, 10:10 AM
<Frank777> The setting shouldn't rule over the story though...I think that some authors are so in love with their worlds, that they forget to put in a good story
<CathS> Oh, I completely agree - look at Tolkein :)
<Angelus> um
<Angelus> ok
<JBI> Frank, you don't need a story; take Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse as an example. No plot, just setting and characters.
<CathS> now that's a great book. :)
<Angelus> You do understand that a story is a part of you?
<Frank777> Yeah...but how many writers can pull that off
<JBI> You don't know until you try.
<Frank777> You have to really know what you are doing.
<Angelus> There is no try
<Frank777> LOL
<Frank777> Thanks Yoda
<Angelus> lol
<Frank777> I'll stick to writing stories, thanks
<Angelus> may the force be with you
<Frank777> And also with you...hey wait...
<misslissy> I think that to pull off no plot, you'd have to be well-known
<Angelus> maybw
<Angelus> or maybe
<Frank777> <-----catholice upbringing
<Angelus> or not
<TauCeti> no plot or pemise? hmmmm
<Angelus> is that the catholic police?
<JBI> Yes, you need a story; Though you don't want to go over the top like some writers, and miss out on character, which I feel is the most important since it allows the reader to connect to the work. Or you don't want to overdue the setting and bore the reader.
<Frank777> I agree JBL
<Angelus> I agree
<misslissy> agree
<nevada-knitting> shouldnt this all relate some way to mysteries and thrillers
<CathS> Yes, I agree JBI
<Frank777> lol Angelus
<CathS> Yes, nev. :)
<nevada-knitting> not wether you need plot?
<Angelus> It is all soap operas
<Angelus> Nothing wrong with that
<JBI> Therefore, in a thriller, you need to stop and take a look at the characters, instead of just have them run around. There happy nev?
<JBI> There,*
<CathS> It was mysteries I thought of when i suggested it - because I'm a huge fan of cosy mysteries, which usually have a similar setting.
<Angelus> Just who is going to kiss ass
<Angelus> or kick ass
<Angelus> How about Robert Parker?
<Mod35tBabe> janet evanovich always has stephanie plum set in the 'burbs - which adds to the story i think
[11:36] <Angelus> Or Sue Grafton?
[11:36] <Angelus> Love their work
<CathS> Agreed, Mod, although I haven't read either of the others. ::blush::
<Mod35tBabe> lol
<Angelus> I think Raymond Chandler wrote the best mysteries
<Angelus> He was so opaque and diffident
<CathS> I must read some Raymond Chandler. But again, the first thing I think of there is teh setting.
<Angelus> Yes
<Angelus> sec
<JBI> Hmm, I would say the two biggest names are Christie and Doyle, though I don't care for either.
<JBI> (I don't care of mysteries in general though).
<CathS> I can't stand Doyle, but Christie has her moments. Margery Allingham is one of teh best, IMO.
<CathS> which has nothing to do with the topic.
<JBI> I feel as if unless the writer does something completely new, mysteries seem to boring and repetetive.
<Angelus> Setting is essential
<JBI> Depends.
<JBI> Character can be as essential.
<Angelus> I am trying to remember a Chandler quote
<CathS> on?
<Angelus> They all are
<CathS> depends on what, JBI?
<JBI> Depends on the plot.
<Angelus> You are all just ducking yourselves.
<JBI> Do you want the story to be about who did it, or how people react to it, or how the event shapes the people around it.
<CathS> ok. In what way :)
<Angelus> Write it, dammit
<Angelus> Write your story
<CathS> Nah, I think there's something to understanding the mechanics of writing as well.
<misslissy> I think mystery/suspense/thriller is one of those categories where setting has a great deal to do with it and your setting absolutely has to be as strong and grounded as your characters
<CathS> I agree, lissy.
<JBI> :p
<CathS> Ah, sometimes it's interesting to hear other ideas and opinions.
<power_rangers> anger is poison
<Angelus> And I hope we have made our minds up
<nevada-knitting> hi power
<CathS> But you can't really discuss something without putting a side forward.
<power_rangers> hey, nevada. how're ya doin'?
<Angelus> Fear leads to anger, anger leads to The Dark Side
<CathS> or you all just end up sitting there going yeah, I agree :)
<Angelus> wait, hate was in there somewhere
<misslissy> sometimes it's best not to make up your mind, just to know where you stand and to not be swayed on an issue if you really feel that you have been successfully swayed
<power_rangers> whew. heavy stuff tonite.
<Angelus> You want to win, you don't hesitate
<Angelus> or not
<Angelus> I am diffident man
<CathS> I don't think there are winners or losers here, just an opportunity to gain understanding. But hey, if you don't like it, you don't have to join in :)
* misslissy does not know what diffident means
<Angelus> opposite of confidence
<misslissy> ah
<Frank777> lol...the writing forum comes alive
<Sable> Right Cath, this should be insight and swapping of ideas and opinions

09-21-2007, 09:33 AM
* Peter changes topic to 'Tonight: The Official Mystery, Suspense, Thriller forum Live Chat. Topic: Mystery--the shocking truth.'

Peter: Well folks: tonight is the MST chat. So, what's MTS you say? Well, it could stand for: Meet The Scientist, Make Three Sundaes, Many Terrible Sins, Mucilaginous Tea Stains, Mangled Toe Separators, or Major Thunder Storm. Or it could stand for: Minor Threat System, Mutinous Thrill Seekers, Multiple Tail System, Maximum Trail Sports, Mouldy Truffle Soup, or Mamma's Tattered Stole.Or it could mean: Mint Triple Sec, Misbehaving Teenager's Story, Melt Their Skulls, Most Trivial Subjects and . . . you might wish it meant: MAKE THEM STOP. But tonight it means Mystery / Thriller / Suspense. And your hostess tonight is Cassiopeia. Take it away, Cass.

Cassiopeia: Thanks Peter. I would like to welcome everyone to the MST chat tonight. We are going to see if we can't revive what some consider a dying genre. I have a question from one of the members of the forum. They ask: is it or is it not, or should it or should it not be that all stories have an inherent bit of mystery to them?

jst5150: Well, is that the right term?

Cassiopeia: In this case they are referring to all genres, btw

NickDangr: define mystery

jst5150: It could mean that they need conflict

Cassiopeia: okay so let's define mystery

jst5150: Or they need to show the "man vs." element

Cassiopeia: or man vs man as well ...yes jst?

jst5150: You bet

Cassiopeia: Nick...care to give us a definition of what you think mystery is?

NickDangr: Well I'm wondering more what type of mystery you mean. Whether you mean something hidden that drives the story or something small that you don't know, that drives you to read the story. Do you mean mystery as the integral part of the story or mystery as a teaser? I don't know that it’s a definition.

Cassiopeia: Alright so in this specific application what is a mystery novel or what is the mystery genre?

NickDangr: I'd say a mystery novel poses a question or a problem in the beginning that through deduction and investigation the main character exposes

A novel where the central focus is solving a particular puzzle; a problem solution plot, rather than revealing those elements is a sidebar.

Cassiopeia: I'd have to agree with that. Nevada, you had a question?

nevada: yeah. Since when is MST a dying genre. The only thing on the shelves are thrillers, everyone is writing suspense, and the mystery section in the bookstore is almost as big as the general fiction

Cassiopeia: good point Nev.

jst5150: I think she means in relation to sci-fi fantasy, maybe? :-)

nevada:if anything sci fi is dying. it's one little section in the bookstore

Cassiopeia: The next questions ties into the first. What is a twist ending and how do we avoid the big shock at the end but rather weave a convincing story that keeps our readers guessing and glued to the page

jst5150: Planning and smarts. You've got to execute something like that from top to bottom and have the wherewithal to ensure it's airtight from top to bottom.

Cassiopeia: do all mystery and thrillers have some sort of twist ending? Or twist in the middle? Is this a good or bad thing?

NickDangr: I'd say if you want to have a twist, you need to know where you're going.

jst5150: Planning, however, is key.

NickDangr: yeah planning.

Cassiopeia: jst...how do we plan for it? Any suggestions?

jst5150: Work backward, Start from the reveal, then build backward! Weave your elements in as surround layers of the onion. Relatives friends coworkers

Cassiopeia: jst, that is a difficult concept for me to grasp. When you say work backwards what do you mean? Do you have your ending then first?

jst5150: Start from the guy solving the mystery. In the den with the candle holder. Otherwise, you're going to lose track of the finer plot points. Or whatever. Then, it’s easier to go backward and build how that all happened and why.

Sable: that makes sense, jst

Cassiopeia: So, jst do you use an outline to do this? A map of some sort? How detailed do you get?

NickDangr: something comes to mind, jst5150, Cassiopeia, regarding working backwards. I'm thinking about the sky / detective movies where in the end the detective busts the person you didn't expect and explains why. He provides only the barest framework and describes how things happened. So start with your framework - your basics and work backwards filling in details and substories?

jst5150: I'd also recommend calling in some assistance. Call a local police station and ask a detective for help. There are milirary bases with detectives that will help, too. It's a Covery thoery: "Begin with the end in mind." Always works. Start with how the guy discovers the mystery is solved.

Cassiopeia: I still think that all genres must have some element of mystery to them. Or why would we read the book if we knew how it turns out

jst5150: For instance, in one story I used a pan of scrambled egss as the big reveal.

NickDangr: you don't need to know the why's yet - as far as discovering the solution

jst5150: Right.

Dreamer3702: I agree cass

musicalzoo: I dont write MST either, my mind just doesn;t work like that. but even i know how my story will end. usually...lol

jst5150: You build those, Nick. That's half the fun. You fill the details in more robustly (?) later. :-)

NickDangr: lol

Sable: Nick, your mind works like that

NickDangr: when it works, thanks, Sable. lol

Siddow: I outline after finishing the novel. I see things better that way, and I can then go back and fill in the missing pieces.

Sable: well, yeah

jst5150: Cass, I agree on the element of mystery. But i think that element is more of a "how will this be resolved" rather than a "whodunnit" sort of thing.

Cassiopeia:*nod* yes jst that does make sense. jst had an interesting question I'd like to ask now. What's the strangest place you've drawn a mystery idea from? I think this could apply to story ideas in general so even if you don't write MST you can reply.

wyntermoon: a local haunted house

Cassiopeia: wyntermoon any particular reason?

jst5150: The fact you have a local haunted house is cool ...

siddow: An action of my child. The name of a town.

tjwriter: "They Fight Crime" the website.

wyntermoon: the murder itself was interesting. She was killed in her bedroom by her boyfriend who crept through a window. Her children were asleep upstairs and never heard a thing. I have lots :) Come on down and I'll show you around.

Cassiopeia: jst, how about you?

musicalzoo: I never did anything with it, but years and years ago, the first time i was ever on OCracoke Island ( on the NC outerbanks) it was early spring and there was a bad thunderstorm. I sat on our hotel porch looking down the main street, and it reminded me of one of those old 'it was a dark and stormy night' scenes- grey clapboard buildings, gravel road, locals whose families have been there centuries...

wyntermoon:then the subsequent ghost investigation I conducted had her screaming during storms and running through the hallways

jst5150: A coworker who liked to date a lot of guys at one time. So, I wrote a short horror piece about it.
siddow: lol

jst5150: Great stuff MZ

NickDangr: empty laxative wrappers under the couch

musicalzoo: my favorite place in the world - rain or shine! lol

Dreamer3702: I've had bizzare thriller scenes pop into my head at inoppertune moments.... does that coun?t

jst5150: Dreamer, they all count!

Cassiopeia: For me, it was the fog down on the farm in Eastern South Dakota that one of mine came from.
Dreamer, care to tell us some of them?

musicalzoo: I have a picture of the water in the harbor at ocracoke that gave me an idea for a ghost story. well, it gave me a title. not really an idea. lol

wyntermoon:sounds good, I loooove a good ghost story

rosemerry: I read a mystery I think it was by Mary Higgins Clark and it was greatly disappointing because I had it figured out by the first or second chapter.

Dreamer3702: it was an image of a seven year old girl with a gun in her hand... pointed at a bloodied man (her father) and a burning house in the back ground

Cassiopeia: Back in the 70's my grandfather didn't want indoor plumbing so when we visited the farm we had to use the outhouse, when it was foggy, that became the longest walk in the middle of the night for us kids

musicalzoo: i bet cass

Dreamer3702: note: the girl was without a scratch

rosemerry: yeah musical it was disappointing because I don't read mysteries so that was pretty much the first one I've read.

Cassiopeia: Shall we move on to another of jst's questions?

jst5150: Sounds like the walk from the tent to the showers in the camp i stayed at in Iraq, Cass. :-)

musicalzoo: I dont read many, but i have read a couple of hers

jst5150: I have many questions, folks. :-)

Cassiopeia: How do you develop a sleuth and what sets him/her apart. And you ask great ones jst :)

musicalzoo: james patterson is ok though, is he considered mystery? i guess so

jst5150: Wow, the silence is deafening :_)

Cassiopeia: The question that jst asks about sleuths brings me to another one as well, do we prefer the tradition detective in a mystery or can it be an ordinary character figuring out what is happening to them

NickDangr: why don't you name a few sleuths that immediately come to mind and then tell what features of them make them effective?

musicalzoo: i like it better when its a regular person, maybe in conjunction with the authorities or somehow connected to them.

Dreamer3702: I agree with Music

NickDangr: Encyclopedia Brown :)

jst5150: I'd offer that the sleuth has to be smart and quirky. He has to engender the readers somehow and he also has to be able to see logic and light. he has to be the seer for those dolts around him who always seem to bump into walls. Columbo, Mike Hammer, VI Warshavski (sic) He has to have traits that make him interesting.

NickDangr:Nancy Drew

musicalzoo: hardy boys

Cassopeia:What do you mean by quirky?

Dreamer3702: quirky is between normal and excentric

Sable: Jack Klugman's character in Quincy

rosemerry: Nancy Drew

NickDangr: I don't know that quirky is a requisite. Although someone the ready can identify with. I think that's important.

Cassiopeia: I don't like Monk though

jst5150: Columbo was a sloppy brooklyn guy

musicalzoo: monk, lol

jst5150: Inspector Morse (my favorite) was a brilliant Oxford dropout

rosemerry: CSI crew

Dreamer3702: monk is awesome.

jst5150: Right, Nick.

wyntermoon: inspector clouseau ;)

jst5150:Someone the base of your readership (key!) will identify with

musicalzoo: someone who seems normal, and hasa sense of humor and life but somehow gets pulled in

NickDangr:quirks don't have to be an identifying mark

jst5150:Inspector barnaby from Midsomer Murders

NickDangr: Magnum PI. lol

jst5150: The sleuth can't be superior to your reader. That makes the reader feel inferior.

NickDangr: I disagree/ Hercule Poirot. however

jst5150: Poirot is great. But he's a particular taste.

Dreamer3702: never heard of him

rosemerry: the Murder she Wrote lady
NickDangr: he is, however, if you look at the stories with him, you see a lot of information not only through his eyes.

jst5150: Look at Columbo. Every day guy. Makes a blue collar living. Makes what we do. Acts like we do/ And yet, every once is a while, He goes Stephen freaking hawking brilliant on a case. Now that's a TV analogy. But that's my archetype for a good sleuth.

rosemerry: Perry Mason?

Cassiopeia: Do these characters stand for modern day readers?

jst5150: Hey we forgot SHERLOCK HOLMES!

musicalzoo: i think they do cass- readers have to identify with the character

NickDangr: Ludlum, he writes suspense/mystery.

Cassiopeia: okay so let’s spend the rest of our time dissecting the character of a sleuth then

Dreamer3702: I've never been able to connect with Holmes

Cassiopeia: what makes Sherlock Holmes so great?

jst5150: I think another sleuth i really like is the one from the Da Vinci Code (can't think of his name). The
great part of him is that he's NOT a sleuth. He just gets thrown into circumstances that make him a sleuth. man vs elements kind of thing. And then -- booyah -- he's a sleuth

Dreamer3702: yes

jst5150: [19:28] <rosemerry> Wasn't the Sherlock Holmes character the one that started the whole mystery genre as far as detective solving a case?

jst: It was an Edgar Allen Poe detective that created Sherlock Holmes. So, Poe gets the credit for the genre, I think.

musicalzoo: if not the first, probably one of them rose.

Dreamer3702: he's the one that made it so popular

NickDangr: What about Sean Connery's character from the Name of the Rose

jst5150: Nick, a GREAT example!

NickDangr: you know though, something worth mentioning, when you have a character who is smarter than the reader. its important to give them a sidekick that grounds them.

Dreamer3702: yep, sidekicks are the best.

NickDangr: I liked the Name of the Rose, because of Christian Slater's character

Dreamer3702: they do all the dirty work

jst5150: However, in the book by Umberto Eco, the whole crime solving aspect of the story is muddle between hundreds of pages of philosophy and thoughts on the Catholic state of mind.

NickDangr: even tho Connery's character was great and Watson took me through Holmes. heck look at scooby doo

Cassiopeia: jst, I am interested in how you came to know that Sherlock holmes is actually from Poe

rosemerry: Inspector Gadget

jst5150: TNOFR is a great book though and it's exactly the sort of book, if i worte it, I'd have to start backward from. BTW, Eco is a professor of religious studies in Rome. I've known it for a while, but, it was refreshed a few days ago on Jeopardy and CNN. I think there was an anniversary. I'll find the reference and paste it here. One sec ...

NickDangr: from the murders in the rue morgue, right?

wyntermoon: yes, the rue morgue started the modern detective genre but I haven't heard how Holmes wandered into the mix, lol

jst5150: Ok, here's the reference: Poe's early detective fiction tales starring the fictitious C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, "Each [of Poe's detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" Also ...The Mystery Writers of America have named their awards for excellence in the genre the "Edgars." In any case, i think in the same way Sherlock Holmes was identifiable to folks in his era, Mike Hammer (a former Marine turned gum show in NYC) and so on, that's why I'd say the sleuth has to have a base in reality.

wyntermoon: gotcha. He was the catalyst. ooooh. Sharyn McCrumb has an Edgar, I wonder if she'd let me cuddle it for a minute?

jst5150: LOL winter

NickDangr: so you have an investigator, an intrepid investigator. Whether it’s the main character or not, look at Remington Steele. His sidekick was the real brains in the operation.

jst5150: Well, again, the pro doesn't have to be "intrepid"

NickDangr:[19:36] <jst5150> Circumstances dictate how intrepid, i would think, Nick

Cassiopeia: For me Remmington Steele was over the top because they wanted to make him such a playboy and it was rather tongue in cheek wasn't it? I tend to really like my character to be a bit more serious.

rosemerry: Scully and Mulder from the X-Files.

NickDangr: very tongue in cheek
Dreamer3702: i can't believe i forgot about x-files

jst5150: Then you'd love Inspector Morse, Ellery Queen

Dreamer3702: ooo and Alfred Hitchcock’s work

Cassiopeia: who is Inspector Morse?

jst5150: Raymond Chandler! Pasting: Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse is a fictional character, who features in a series of thirteen detective novels by British author Colin Dexter, though he is better known for the 33 episode TV series produced by Central Independent Television from 1987–2000, in which he was portrayed by John Thaw. Morse is a senior CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer with the Thames Valley Police in Oxford, England.

tjwriter: thinks a list of some of these characters and their authors would be cool. For research or pleasure even.

jst5150: And a GREAT GREAT first name

Cassiopeia: jst ...who is micky spillane?

jst5150: Mickey Spillane is a writer of mystery, credited with creating the detective Mike Hammer.
Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American author of crime novels, many featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold around the globe.[1] By 1980, Spillane was responsible for seven of the top 15 all-time bestselling fiction titles in America.

NickDangr: Mike Hammer was kind of a genre in himself, though, wouldn't you say, jst5150?

jst5150: Yes i would.

NickDangr: for the time he was written, mike hammer was very gritty and violet

Cassiopeia: a purple sleuth? interesting

NickDangr: violent even. Lol yes!

jst5150: LOL

Cassiopeia: I haven't read any of those books so I can't really comment on the character of Mike Hammer.
So maybe Jst can describe him for us

NickDangr: i'm no mike hammer expert. Lol

jst5150: He's tough. He's burdoned (sic)

Cassiopeia: burdoned?

jst5150: He does tough guy things when tough guy things were allowed. There's almost zero courtroom drama in the books. He carries a .45 from WWII. He has a friend on the police force with whom he works closely. He has a hard time with women.

NickDangr: and he talks to himself a lot and the reader. lol

jst5150: Right. And the language is ...AMAZING. Spaillane just had a knack for the language.

Cassiopeia: how so? can you give us an example of that language?

jst5150: Beautiful. I don't have anything handy. But, instead of saying throwing a punch, he might say "smashing a guy in the lunch pail"

shweta: like, pretty writing? Or language that really built suspense? oh, vivid :)

jst5150: He knew exactly the right word for the moment and how Mike hammer would say it. I think some of that is lost on the James patterson stories of the world. Also, this ... Mickey Spillane's books had STYLE ... A flavor. You knew IMMEDIATELY they were his. Just great writing. THAT'S what i miss in the mystery genre today
Cassiopeia: how so?

jst5150: Too many authors are concerned with meeting the demographic of buyers, fitting on a Wal-Mart shelf or a grocery store shelf. Or some other shelf where they have a great deal of access. If a book is too "something one way or the other, that usually is a measure for not meeting those marks. Doesn't mean I don’t want to be on those shelves, I want to make a buck, too.

NickDangr: so going back to the original question - about whether MST is a dying breed - is it perhaps that things are becoming too generic and the genre is becoming undefined?

Cassiopeia: yes, I feel that today's mysteries are rather bland. Nick, in my opinion the genre is being watered down too much

jst5150: However, i also want to have just one opportunity to write one book as well as that guy wrote one sentence.
NickDangr: so what elements, what key things make up a good mystery, the basics?

jst5150: conflict, contrast

NickDangr: a question without an answer?

Cassiopeia: I like the puzzle solving part and though I am dread to mention it..I like Angels and Demons and the DaVinci Code because of that.

NickDangr: or a situation lacking explanation, that begs to be explained

jst5150: There's a list of seven basics that always works

QueenB: I like to be surprised.

jst5150: Conflict is one. Proximity. And then five others that are slipping me because I had the worst day of work in my life today and my head is killing me. :-) Prominence!
NickDangr: oh but ... naming them is one thing

jst5150: Found them. These are the elements of news. They apply here, too:

Timeliness -- Something that just happened tends to be more newsworthy than something that happened some time ago. In today's fast-paced communications environment you want to give the reader a sense that this is news NOW. In fact, when you write a news story you want to make sure it has a news peg. Think of a peg on the wall that you might hang a hat on. The news peg is the element that you hang your story on. It is the element that makes
Prominence -- Like it or not, prominent people make more news. When spousal abuse leads to one partner injuring or killing the other, it is sad. When one of those partners is O.J. Simpson, you have an international news story. When a married man has an extra-marital sexual relationship with a woman half his age, it is bad for a marriage. But if the man is Bill Clinton, president of the United States, it can affect the world's economy. If t
Conflict -- Sad to say, but bad news is often more newsworthy than good news. When war breaks out, it is more newsworthy than when neighbors get along. Even stories about peace are more stories about war, or a lack of it. A car driving down the street is not news until it comes into conflict with a telephone pole or a pedestrian.
The Unusual -- Pulitzer, Dana and others had the right idea about news, too. Something that is out of the ordinary is news. A pumpkin is not news, unless it is as big as a small car. We are obsessed with records, too, that indicate, the biggest, longest, shortest, smallest, tallest, shortest, etc. something. There are thousands of news stories in the Guinness Book of World Records because of our obsession.

Did any of that help? :-)

Cassiopeia: jst that is amazing, so can you relate this to mystery writing :)

jst5150: All of it. Especially "The Unusual"

Cassiopeia: so, we want our MC the sleuth to be unusual, prominent, his/her personality timeless
Is that fair to say?

NickDangr: what about red herrings, gotta have red herrings to leave around

jst5150: I'm not sure the MC has to be prominent, but something in the story probably does.

nevada: i think what JST means is that the conflict should be large, important and prominent

Cassiopeia: Nick what is a red herring in your opinion?

NickDangr: something you tell the reader to mislead them, so that when you reveal the ending, they go OH

jst5150: Folks i hate to leave becaue I am TRULY enjoying this and thankful you're allowing me so much blabbering, but I gotta go.

Cassiopeia: jst , thanks for participating, you were awesome.

NickDangr: Have you seen Chinatown?

Cassiopeia: not in ages

NickDangr: dark, depressing movie, red herrings, prominence, contrast.

Cassiopeia: I want to thank everyone for participating, it was great fun. I will be posting the transcripts. Peter, I turn the chat now back to you.