Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Whodunnit…Your Genre or Not?

May 23, 2013

Whodunnit – definition: a narrative dealing with a murder or a series of murders and the detection of the criminal

This is one genre I have not yet delved into but there is always time! As a British native the author who comes to mind for me is, of course, Agatha Christie. She wrote 80 detective novels, which in anyone’s books is a lot. There was a formula to her work but it did not deter hundreds of faithful readers from buying her books as well as inspiring numerous TV series and movies. With numerous ‘red herrings’, twists and turns that kept her readers guessing, Agatha was a master of her genre. It is believed she enjoyed reading the genre so wrote ‘what she knew’ to some extent.

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interesting titbit:

The earliest archetype for a whodunnit murder mystery is – “The Three Apples” in the One Thousand and One Nights, but the first ‘true’ whodunnit is widely regarded as – Wilkie Collins‘s The Moonstone (1868).

As most of you know I’m not restricted to one genre, having written children’s fiction, romance, speculative fiction and fantasy. I enjoy exploring the differences each genre possesses. Who knows maybe one will ‘click’ with me and I will find my favored genre – or not! Even Agatha wrote other genres, such as romances under the pen name Mary Westmacott and also the famous long running play, The Mousetrap.

Testing out various genres is a good way to find our true voice as a writer. Some may not appeal of course so don’t waste your time struggling with those. Sometimes an idea grows into a particular genre without us consciously driving it one way or the other – these are the fun ones.

So do you dabble or have you found your niche?

A Bonanza of Our Own…

February 22, 2013

Bonanzadefinition: 1) a large, rich mineral deposit 2) something that brings a rich return

Cropped screenshot of Michael Landon from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Michael Landon from the television seres Bonanza. Episode: “Bitter Water” (1960). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are like me (showing my age here I know- it was the re-runs honestly!) you will immediately think of the TV show. It was a good old cowboy show in an era before political correctness. In hindsight it’s basis was very stereotypical – cowboys = good and Indians = bad or subservient, which was probably worse. Anyway I digress.  The story revolved around a family, their cattle ranch and the trials and tribulations they encountered. The characters were conventional and their reactions predicable but nevertheless it was enjoyable for its time. I’m sure it would be viewed as outdated and bland to the youth of today.

Modern movies are fast paced, action packed and include, in the most part gruesome realism. Looking back at movies like the original King Kong, the special effects of that era are laughable. Technology has advanced beyond all expectations in the last 80 years or more, but somewhere along the line we lost our innocence, our sense of wonderment.  Of course rubber model monsters walking through a scale model city do look rather idiotic now but they were cutting edge at one point. Violence was portrayed but for the life of me I can’t remember it being so, well violent. Do you understand what I mean? It seems to be a prerequisite for all movies nowadays to contain a certain amount of violence in one form or another. Is it all really necessary?

As for the special effects used today we seem to forget that what we are watching isn’t ‘real’ but images on a blue screen. They even have virtual actors!  We’re not amazed at how a real actor can ‘act’ with a cartoon character. Just think on that for a minute, the actors can’t see anything in front or around them, all they have is a big blue screen. How difficult must that be?  Take Avatar for instance large blue beings and humans together on the big screen but never on the movie plot.

With this ability to ‘make’ creatures, landscapes and other objects seemingly interact with human actors they are delving into the writing realm. Our words create worlds and characters, which are conjured up in our reader’s imagination. No two readers will ‘picture’ our characters and their environment exactly the same. So in essence we write superior ‘movies’. The same story can be seen ‘visually’ in a multitude of ways instead of a single persons interpretation.  We deliver our own bonanza.

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