Ten Ways Mystery Kills Other Genres

See what I did there? ūüėČ Let’s be honest: some genres are simply better than others. And naturally, I think mystery is the best, hands-down. Why is it the best? I’m so glad you asked…

1. Death! Mystery writers get to kill people. With finesse and skill and subtlety. And it’s socially acceptable.

2. No genre is better with details. Why? Clues! We have to make you suspicious without even knowing you’re suspicious. We’ve gotta make you doubt and wonder. And then when you’re done, you’ll look back and realize we slipped in all kinds of clues that you were supposed to only half-notice.

3. Mystery can include¬†both romance AND death. We can make people fall in love AND we can kill them. (Although it’s limited to that order, since it’s not SciFi.)

4. No one is safe. Wanna feel like you’re living on the edge? Read mystery. We reserve the right to kill anyone at any time. Even your favorite. And you’ll never see it coming.

5. Cardio, anyone? Mystery can give your heart a fabulous workout when the villain is creeping up, knife in hand, behind the heroine, who is blissfully sniffing flowers. She leans toward that lovely red one, her hair falling toward her face, as he stretches out the knife toward the back of her neck… And you know by this point that we have no problem letting him injure her. We’re ruthless like that.

6.¬†It pulls you in like no other genre can. Why? Because you, like the protagonist, are trying to figure out who the killer is. You’re in the story, analyzing the clues. In other genres, you’re simply a spectator.

7. Who can tell you about the most popular methods of murder? Anyone who loves this genre, that’s for sure. And mystery writers get to learn all kinds of dark things in the name of research. (Did you know there’s a murderpedia? Oh yeah. It’s good.)

8. It’ll keep you guessing. Constantly. Other genres may make you wonder a little but nothing can tie you up in a quandary like trying to guess the murderer. Once you’re sure you’ve figured it out, hello plot twist! And then you’ll feel guilty that the person you suspected is actually an incredible, selfless person. Or dead. Or both. (I refer you back to number 4)

9. We make you cautious. You know it’s true: after you read a book where the murderer turns out to be the sweet old lady who worked in the coffee shop, you start looking at coffee shop old ladies differently. We show you that¬†even the nicest of people are capable of murder. Therefore, mysteries help you make smart, safe choices.

10.¬†There’s no better catharsis. We’ll drag our main character (and you) through the ringer. We’ll make her stumble upon a bloody corpse, fall into the trap of a sadistic murderer, lose someone she loves, get shot/stabbed/etc… but we’ll still make sure evil loses in the end. It’ll be the best feeling in the world.

Okay, what did I miss, mystery-lovers? And those of you who disagree (*cough* romance writers *cough*), feel free to share the reasons you think your genre is better. Let’s start a genre war! Said the mystery writer.

dear Bridget: introductions

Dear Bridget,

You don’t know me. But I know you, because I’ve been where you are. Sitting at your desk, trying to figure out who the heck you are and what you’re going to be. With a thousand voices coming at you, telling you who you should be and how you should act and what you should dream.

It’s a lot to deal with. Anyone who says differently is lying. (Or super old. Like, so old they can’t remember being under 40.)

Your life is complicated. And messy. And stressful.

I wish I could tell you all that ends when you hit adulthood. That somehow the pieces fall into place and you’ve finally got it all together. But I can’t. Because that doesn’t really happen.

There’s no magic moment when you suddenly feel like an empowered adult. But you will learn how to better manage the craziness. And you’ll start to figure out who you are and what you want.

But that doesn’t help you much right now, does it? That’s why I’m here. Consider me your cool big sister, giving advice from the other side, that place where parents don’t dictate/monitor my every move and males actually know how to carry on a conversation. That place where I have a job I like and a dream I’m pursuing and a husband who loves me.

I’m not saying my life is perfect. Life will always be a bit messy, I can promise you that. But it’s a thousand times better than high school. And some days, I wasn’t sure I’d get here.

But I did. And you will too.

So here’s what I promise: I promise to always tell you the truth, not random, crappy platitudes or parental directives. Just straight-up honesty. I promise to write with compassion and humor. I promise to introduce you to other awesome women so you’ll see I’m not the only one who made it through without losing my mind.

There’s a lot of change coming your way, Bridget. And it would be an honor if something I write helps you come out on the other side of your teen years a well-balanced woman who knows her worth. That’s my wish for you.

Love,
Halee

What’s Dear Bridget all about? It’s a new series, composed of letters to a hypothetical teen girl named Bridget. Why Bridget? It means strong. And it represents the current generation of young women. These letters are my attempt to break through the chaos and the crap that’s flying at today’s young woman in order to offer advice and encouragement, from me and other incredible women who remember what it was like to be in her shoes.

If you’re a teen girl and you’ve got a question or issue you’d like us to address, let me know. Just click on the contact button (that round envelope icon at the top of the sidebar) and send me your thoughts.

If you’re an awesome adult woman who remembers those teen years clearly and would like to write to Bridget, feel free to contact me and tell me about yourself.