Monday, June 8, 2015
5 Qualities Characters in the Mystery Genre Should Possess That You Probably Haven't Considered
Today, we'll focus on the Mystery Genre. I write crime fiction, but truly this could apply to any story that involves any kind of mystery, and the characters exploring it.
If you're trying to unfold a mystery for your readers, be it a full on murder or just a minor subplot, at least one of your characters should have at least one of these qualities:
2) Really NOT curious -- This can be used too, though it tends to be a little more tongue-in-cheek. The kind of character that is constantly trying to get away from the things happen around or to them can be a little wearying for the reader after a while, but when done right, it can keep the reader interested in what might happen to the character next. It's also a great way to introduce comedy into a potentially dark mystery.
Other qualities for characters in mystery stories:
3) Observant -- They're pretty much observing clues FOR your reader, so they have to be able to pick up nuances in a believable way. They don't necessarily have to be smart enough to put the mystery together (just depends on the character and how you're telling the story) but they have to be able to absorb what's happening around them.
5) Resilient -- Mysteries by nature tend to be shocking, so your character, especially if they're in a dire situation, needs to be able to absorb what's happening and move on. They can find an emotional outlet later, but make sure they have at least some resiliency to get them through the dark parts first.
After creating the characters that will be walking through your mystery, make sure you add these qualities, or some variation of them in. It will make the characters more compelling and memorable to your readers. If at any point you're having a hard time getting your character to do what you want, in a believable manner, then there is a good chance they are lacking one or more of these qualities.
Mysteries are compelling to human nature. We can't help but sink our teeth in. But only certain kinds of people can carry a mystery novel for your readers. Make sure your characters are some of them!
What's your favorite character in a mystery story?