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What do you think? > What is the difference between mystery and suspense?

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message 1: by Heather L, Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)

Heather L (wordtrix) | 12402 comments Mod
I actually wrote an article for a writers' group several years back based on a workshop with a published author, whose name I am completely drawing a blank on at the moment. Here's the short definition from my article:

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The easy answer here would be that, in a mystery you usually don't know whodunit (or why) until the very end; in a suspense you can know whodunit, and even why — what makes it a suspense is not knowing how or if the villain will be caught or stopped in time; and a thriller is high on action.

There is much more to it than that, and the differences can be broken down into four key components: number of characters, settings, plot, and source of reader satisfaction.

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It goes on to give a more in-depth explanation of the three closely-related genres, with examples. I would be happy to share more if people are interested—or perhaps I should just upload it to my blog Friday.


message 2: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeth8921) | 5308 comments Ken wrote: "What is the difference between mystery and suspense?

To me the primary difference is that mysteries make you think, and suspense makes you sweat.

Feel free to add your comments, details, on ..."


Love this definition!!!!!!


message 3: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 151 comments What a perfect definition, although with mysteries it is possible to break a sweat while thinking.


message 4: by Marja (new)

Marja McGraw (marja1) | 960 comments I sit and read mysteries. Suspense can make me get up to check and be sure the doors and windows are locked. Or maybe that's thrillers.


message 5: by Heather L, Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)


message 6: by Karendenice (new)

Karendenice Heather L, thanks for sharing the wonderful thread. I have never really looked at it like that before. And I have a feeling that from now on I'll probably be trying to figure out which one of the types of books is what I'm currently reading. :)


message 7: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) Heather-very interesting piece, thanks for sharing it. I've read it several times already.


message 8: by Heather L, Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)

Heather L (wordtrix) | 12402 comments Mod
Thanks KarenDenice and Ellie!


message 9: by Heather L, Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)

Heather L (wordtrix) | 12402 comments Mod
Toni: See message #6 in this thread for the link. ; )


message 10: by Karen (new)

Karen I like Heather L's summary was great also.


message 11: by Heather L, Cozy Mysteries Moderator (new)

Heather L (wordtrix) | 12402 comments Mod
Thanks, Karen and Ken!


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