The Thin Line between Romance and Mysteries
August 15, 2015
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE between a good mystery and a good romance?
Like a duel, I think it’s the choice of weapons.
In a mystery, the murderer depends on a revolver.
Maybe a rope around the neck.
Perhaps a sharp knife to the heart.
A blow to the head.
A recipe spiked with poison.
In a romance, the lover depends on a kiss.
Maybe her arms around his neck.
Perhaps a sharp word to the heart.
A blow to the ego.
Jealousy spiked with poison.
In the end, it’s all the same.
In a mystery, someone usually dies.
In a romance, it’s love that dies.
Both genres are littered with victims.
However, there is one major difference.
In a romance, love can be resurrected.
But the dead in a mystery stay dead for a long, long time.
Whether you are writing romance or a mystery, you need to remember three great quotes from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
There is almost always as much suspense in love as in murder.
Hitchcock said: Always make the audience (or reader) suffer as much as possible.
There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
And what is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.
If you can write one genre, you can certainly write the other.
In one, the blonde falls in love.
In the other, the blonde falls over a cliff.
You’re the writer.
You get to decide where the blonde falls.
Caleb Pirtle III is the author of Secrets of the Dead, a thriller packed with a little love, a lot of death, and the dull bits cut out.