Another treasure from the Magical Words trove, this time written by Carrie Ryan, a blog entry she entitled” The Difference between faux and real mysteries“. What struck me once she defined faux and real mysteries, is faux mysteries are just lazy writing. Basically I, as the lazy writer, don’t want to take the time to craft tension and suspense into the plot so I am just going to just not tell the reader the information needed until later.
What do you think? Does Ms. Ryan’s definition of a faux mystery hit home to you? It defined something I knew deep down I didn’t like, but never put my finger on. An epiphany or a whatever?
WRITING EXERCISE: Write a scene (500 words or less) with a faux mystery as defined by Ms. Ryan. Rewrite the scene this time without the faux mystery; how does the tension change?
READING EXERCISE: Think about a previous Read which had a faux mystery. Did it bother you? Was it necessary for the tension in the book to keep you reading or could the Reveal have happened sooner?
(PS I love the comments where one of the blog readers says she wrote a story where the POV character is deliberately not thinking about something very important and asks the MagicalWords hive mind what they thought. One response, two sentence change later, and the faux mystery goes away. Cool comment exchange from Laura.)