NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

INGREDIENTS FOR WRITING - by Kathy Ivan

Suspense.  Mystery.  Romance. 

There's something about those words that stir the imagination.  Being able to craft a story filled with the right elements, a blending of all three, reminds me of baking.  All the ingredients have to be added in exactly the right amounts in order for your delicious confection to come out perfect (and in my case hopefully edible). 


I love layering in all the nuances to my stories, adding a dash of mystery to keep the reader turning the pages.  Did I write enough intrigue and danger within the world I've created that the reader absolutely, positively, unequivocally cannot stop reading when they reach the end of the chapter, and must turn the page to find out what happens next.  Don't you love that feeling? 

There are differing techniques I use while I'm writing.  If it's a mystery, the reader can't know whodunit until the very end—the big black moment.  I'll feed little hints and clues along the way, but I never come right out and say Mr. X is the villain.  That's left up to the reader to figure out and if I've done my job right they'll admit they never saw the ending coming. 


Now suspense for me is a totally different mindset.  I've got no problem telling the reader right up front who my bad guy or gal is and the horrible things they've done to earn that moniker.  Then it's up to the hero and/or heroine to not only catch the evil-doer, but stop whatever nefarious scheme they've concocted and foil it, making sure that evil is denounced and trounced and everybody lives happily ever after. 

But, and this is a big one for me—there always, always has to be a romance in my books.  Romance is my passion, for both writing and reading.  I don't want to read a book that doesn't have a good solid romance as a cornerstone of the story, and my romantic suspense writing needs that touchstone not only for my readers but for my own satisfaction.  Besides, watching the sexual tension ratchet up between your hero and heroine while they're running away from the maniacal mobster bent on their immediate destruction gives me a vicarious thrill.  




(Hey, if I'm the heroine and I'm gonna be chased by some crazy guy determined to end my life, I darn well better have a handsome hero beside me, although hopefully I'm kick-ass enough to save myself when the situation arises.) 

Suspense.  Mystery.  Romance.  My ingredients for a truly good book. 

Kathy Ivan is busy at work on her next romantic suspense set deep in the bayous of Louisiana.  Her latest suspense, Connor's Gamble is available now. 


5 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

Great differentiation between mystery and suspense. And I have to have romance in mine, too. So, so difficult to get the right blend, and then to pace it just so to keep the readers turning pages!

Rita said...

Wonderful post. Like Anne Marie I do have to have romance. I swear every book is mystery or suspense 'cause after all we don't know how it's going to end.

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Anne Marie

Thanks for stopping by. It's hard sometimes to distinguish between what's a mystery and what is a suspense. That's the closest I've been able to come with explaining it. I definitely have to have my romance in the story, or I'll end up scratching my head and wondering why it isn't there. LOL

Kathy Ivan said...

So true, Rita. Every book no matter what genre really is a mystery, unless you're one of those readers who has to read the ending first. LOL

I love not knowing until the very end how a book is going to turn out. But -- woe until the author who doesn't end things the way I WANT THEM. Happy, full of hope, and all the loose ends tied up.

jean harrington said...

Enjoyed your take on the differences between mystery and suspense, Kathy. I like a touch or more--no pun here!--of romance too. In life and in art. Why skimp?

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