Words Matter

By: Daphne M. Matthews of Crazee Chixz

Write 500 words describing

this scene including the word duck.

You can’t give your definition, the reader

must be able to discern it. I will post the ones that

follow the directions to be voted on in a later post.

The winner will win a copy of the Character

Development Workbook.

Send your 500 word scene to CrazeeChixz@gmail.com with “Duck Story” in the headline.

Anyone who has seen the classic movie, “The Sound of Music,” knows that we must start at the very beginning. This is most definitely true when you are writing a story. You must first understand words and how they can change the meaning of a sentence depending on someone’s understanding of the meaning of that word. For example:

“Throw me your duck.”

Duck in this sentence is a noun. There are several things that a duck, as a noun, could be. Some are:

  1. A waterbird.
  2. A type of strong cotton cloth.
  3. A term of endearment.
  4. A score of nothing – primarily in cricket.

What this shows is you must know words to write.

When you are writing, you know what you mean, but you must know what your reader is going to think you mean. That’s almost impossible because each and every reader is going to bring a different story of their own to the world you’ve created. You have to be sure that they will know for sure that you mean you want character A to throw a type of strong cotton cloth and not a type of waterbird to character B; unless, of course, you do. You must use your words to set the scene. You must know that just because you know the meaning of a word does not mean that there are not other meanings to the word.

So, how do you do that?

I have a Bachelor of Science Degree from East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, but I did my first three semesters at Radford University, Radford, Va. About a month into my freshman year, my roommate asked me how to spell a long, complicated word. I just looked at her with a question of “Really” on my face. She said, “Well, you’re an English major, you’re supposed to know how to spell everything.” To which I promptly said, “No, being an English major doesn’t mean I know how to spell every word; it means I know how to find the spelling and meaning of every word.”

That’s what you need. Google is great. And easy. But do the work. Do not just Google a word and take and definition that you come to. Look in reputable dictionaries. Or, if you are looking for slang, look in popular areas where slang is used for the meaning. Or, if your are writing about a surgical procedure, then learn about the actual procedure and use the terms that would literally be used for that procedure. In other words, don’t fake it because people know. Not everyone, but enough to discredit you. You may say, well its fiction, and it is and if your character are blue and live on a planet called Zigzwag, then sure, make up your own surgical procedures; but if your characters are humans on earth, make them believable.

Along with dictionaries, learn to use a thesaurus. They are great when you are looking for a similar word but beware, you cannot just willy-nilly replace any word there with the word you are looking up. Again, you must know your words and make sure that the new word fits into the sentence correctly without confusing the readers.

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Genres: Women’s Literature Part 1

As promised, here is the link to the article I used in the podcast today. Saturday we will delve deeper into Women’s literature and what makes it so different. Also, we’ll look at why women often do better with a male audience when they use a male pseudonym. The writing doesn’t change, so why does the readership?



Genres: Westerns

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Photo by Kevin Wheeler on Pexels.com

The western genre is generally set from 1850 to the mid-1920s in the western part of the United States of America. This area has been called the “Old West” in America for more than a Century in America and is a beloved time for those who lived it, heard about it, read about it, and watched it either on the big screen or on TV.

Westerns took on a life of their own and as such a personality of their own. The stories could be as “simple” as farmhand meets owner’s daughter stories or could be as complex as outlaws taking over towns in a fury of bullets and booze stories. They could be stories about, what they then were called, stories verses “cowboys and injuns” meaning Indians, meaning American Natives.

Westerns, however, primarily focus on gunslingers. So, what is a gunslinger – well, exactly what is sounds like – people, usually men, that sling guns. And they were so good at it that even back in the ‘70s we kids were buying toy guns so we could practice jerking them out of our holsters and twirling them on our fingers before we pulled the trigger and made it go “Pop.” I loved that sound and that smell. Mom would run me outside but she kept buying me the rolls so I could fire my toy pistol. I would ride my Huffy, off-road, bike (or horse), my cowboy hat, my holster, and my toy pop gun and I’d chase the Sheriff (my sister, on her dainty, blonde, on-road only bike, um-I mean, horse) out of town.

Yes, I was the Tom-boy. No, my sister absolutely was not.

So, lets talk about how to write a western that a reader not only recommend to others but will also begin to follow you as an author.

Shawn Coyne, creator of Storygrid.com with over 25 years of experience in the editorial and publishing business, once said, “The western story concerns the role of the individual in a mass society. Is the self-reliant individual dangerous to order or necessary to defend the powerless?”

In westerns, the hero of the story is often the outlaw and yet, the townspeople support their plight. It’s usually a Robin Hood type of story. This person has been wronged sometime in their life and now they are fighting back, or they are “robbing from the rich to give to the poor.” However, in the western, justice looks different than it does in today’s crime shows. In westerns, for a positive ending, justice comes when the hero sacrifices themselves for the good of the community. A negative ending is when justice does not prevail, and the person is trying to save the community is betrayed by those very people.

When you are writing a western, there are scenes that must take place. You must have an attack by the villain or the environment. Let me explain that. In a western, the environment, weather, landscape, and more is actually a character. It can be harsh. There can be tornados or droughts, mudslides, rockslides, cave-ins, and so much more. All of these things can happen and can cause a major catastrophe that the community must fight against to prevail in the end as a winner, or loser, whichever the case may be.

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The hero will lose their temper and may lose themselves in the story. They may step outside of themselves and leave the world they know to conquer the offender. His or her strategy may first fail but they will eventually rise to the occasion.

There must be a showdown, you know a “Meet Me at High Noon in the Middle of Town” type of deal, between the story’s hero and villain and the hero must be rewarded for all their sacrifices.

Like all genres, the western genre too has sub-genres. They are:

I.                Vengeance: In these stories, a stranger will come to town to correct a wrong done to someone or something

II.              Transition: In these stories, the hero is already part of the community when the story begins but is quickly exiled.

III.            Professional: In these stories, the heroes are outlaws and are committing so-called “victimless” crimes against the government, banks, big corporations, or law enforcement. The hero is usually helping the community even though they are criminals.

  Growing up in the ‘70s, I saw every western on TV – movies and TV series. My dad can watch sports but he’s not a sports fan so while other families sat around watching football, baseball, and basketball on Saturdays, we watched Westerns – that is, when we weren’t working on the farm, in the garden, in the yard, in the house, at one of our grandparent’s houses, or taking my grandmother to visit her many siblings or to visit the dead at the many cemeteries to place nice, new, fresh flowers on the gravestones. Winter was the best time, though, as it snowed all the time in the ‘70s so no where to go and no outside work. I’ve probably seen every western ever filmed before 1985 and most filmed since. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Tom Laughlin, Gary Cooper, Sam Elliott, Burt Lancaster, Audie Murphy, Jack Palance, Charlton Heston, Robert Duvall, and Henry Fonda – these names are synonymous with the term “westerns” and as Americans, when we read westerns, we picture men like these in the roles of the lead, male characters because they set the bar so high.

Westerns are great no matter where you go to find them so as you write westerns, whether it be for a book or for the big screen, remember that it must be authentic because we all know what it is supposed to look and feel like as we experience the story.

Genres: Paranormal Fiction

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet as the explanation of the paranormal fiction genre is short and sweet…. somewhat, anyway.

Paranormal fiction includes stories that are set in the real world, but they include experiences that defy scientific explanation. Just what does that mean, though? Most often, it means that there is some type of battle with angels and demons, or ghosts and humans, or psychics and the unknown, or vampires and the town, or more. There can also be any combination of all the above. Imagine a demon against Mother Theresa: how would that story play out?

So, writing paranormal is another fun genre as you can basically do anything you would like and your reader will accept it – as long as it fits with the theme of defying science.

Genre: Horror

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

If you have to ask what horror is, then you’ve never been scared out of your pants. Well, by a book anyway. The horror genre’s primary purpose is to create: repulsion, dread, fear, and terror.

The definition of horror, according to the Literary Terms site is derived “…from the Old French horror, meaning ‘to shudder or to bristle.’” That site goes on to say that this genre “…has roots in religion, folklore, and history; focusing on topics, fears, and curiosities that have continuously bothered humans in both the 12th and 21st centuries alike.”

Horror lives on the fears of its audiences most terrifying thoughts and fears. Horrific deaths, evil of the worst kind, supernatural powers used to disform and dismember family and friends, the worst fears of what the afterlife will look like, creatures that can’t be explained like “The Thing” or “Michael Myers” who just won’t die. Witchcraft is also a huge theme in the horror genre.

There are three sub-genres in horror:

Gothic Horror

Supernatural Horror

Non-Supernatural Horror

No matter what type of horror you want to write, your job is to scare your reader. Horror readers want to be frightened and they expect it every time they pick up a book that you tell them is in the horror classification. If you classify your work as horror and then your story does not frighten your reader and leave them on the edge of their seats, then you have let that reader down. That reader will never return to you. That reader will never trust you again.

So, if you want to write horror; then, want to read horror. Want to give your readers the same types of feelings and emotions that you enjoy and expect when you read horror. The old saying, “Know what you write” is very true. But, let me add: “Know how to write what you write.”

Genres: Thrillers

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Thriller genre is so much fun because it keeps you on the edge of your seat (or bed) the entire time. From the first sentence, there is tension, intrigue, and excitement that draws the reader in and keeps them guessing as they turn each page. Thrillers all have conflict and suspense. There are always surprising twists and a lot to lose if something goes wrong at any point during the story.

Some page turns are exciting; some are scary. But every page turn is worth the risk. So, how do writers of the thriller genre keep the excitement up for 100,00 words? That’s a secret worth sharing.

Thrillers are plot-driven stories that have dark tendencies. They rarely have any comedy because they need to stay focused on keeping the reader interested in the main story.

In a thriller, every scene must move the action forward in a way that seems like a constant roller-coaster ride. Although bookstores often shelf them together, thrillers have one difference between mysteries and suspense fiction. Mysteries and suspense do keep the story moving and have a conflict throughout, but they don’t make you feel like your heart is pumping out of your chest through every page turn. With mysteries, the main character is primarily trying to solve a crime. In a thriller, the protagonist is trying to stop the crime before it happens as ping a bomb from exploding in the White House in Washington D.C. or from a second 9/11 from happening on the same date in 2031 but with four different targets using different modes of transportation for the bombs.

With thrillers, the reader usually knows who the “bad guy” is from the first sentence. There is no big reveal at the end of the book, no surprise, no whodunit type story to thrill the reader. The thrill with suspense is that it keeps your heart racing, your blood boiling, and your breath at a fast pace from the first word to the last.

Thriller genre stories can be based on any type of story, too. It can be a young adult novel where some teens notice a high school coach is holding a seasoned teacher hostage. This teacher has been missing for three weeks; these teens decide to save her. It can be a young family who sees a small child murdered in cold blood and steps outside of their element to protect this child’s family and push back against the responsible street gang to make sure the family stays safe and gets justice. There are so many possibilities.

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There are several subgenres within the thriller genre. They are:

  • Supernatural thrillers
  • Political thrillers
  • Espionage thrillers
  • Psychological thrillers
  • Action-adventure thrillers
  • Crime thrillers
  • Historical thrillers
  • Legal thrillers
  • Military thrillers
  • Domestic thrillers

So, how do you write these thrilling books to thrill your readers? Let’s look:

  1. Character development is essential no matter what genre you are writing. For help with character development, check out my extensive workbook available on our website.
  2. You must let the reader know what the cost to the protagonist is going to be if they do not win. However, it must be difficult for your protagonist to win and must be a high cost. Your reader can’t find themselves saying, “I could’ve done that.” (unless, of course, they were in the CIA).
  3. Start your story with action. The opening scene should be action-packed and be a pivotal moment in the life of the protagonist.
  4. The more twists that a thriller has, the better. You almost can’t overdo it in a thriller, but the twist needs to be a real twist and not something just thrown in to develop a twist so you can say you put one in. If you need a twist, your protagonist needs to make something happen – never let them sit back and wait for something to fall in their laps.
  5. The finale should be exciting and worthy of the last 160 pages! So, build your scenes, tensions, and characters to create a jaw-dropping climax. You want your readers walking away with their minds blown, not disappointed.
  6. When writing and editing, anything that slows down the story’s pace needs to be rewritten or completely cut.

So, the Thriller Genre is amazingly fun to write. However, not everyone can write a thriller, even with practice and patience. Don’t let that discourage you. Readers need all of us writers to have a different set of skills. They need us to not all write the same things. They need us to not all write thrillers. Honestly, though, if you want to write a genre badly enough, you will be able to. You will study that genre; read that genre, and practice that genre. So, chin up and pen down.

I’d love to see you all get started on your own manuscripts in your favorite genre. Let me know what that genre is as we move through these posts. Listen to “Chit Chat with the Crazee Chixz” on Buzzsprout or your favorite podcast on our YouTube channel and read our blog on CrazeeChixz.com and click on “Let Me Jot This Down!”

Genres: Young Adult

The young adult genre seems so simple. However, not much could be further from the truth. That would be like saying, “Adult Fiction,” and stopping there. But we don’t do that, do we? So, let’s talk about real young adult fiction.

I’m going to go through the varying sub-genres of young adult fiction and non-fiction even though they are primarily the same as those for the adults. There is a twist, though, with the young adult genre with each of the sub-genres as they come off just a little different than they do with the same sets for adults.

So, let’s get started:

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  • Diary formats are popular with tweens and teens as it gives a feeling of the reader getting a glimpse into to the life of another tween or teen. It’s like spying into the personal life of a friend or foe of a classmate, which is always fun. These diaries can be written as fiction or non-fiction but usually recounts the day-to-day life of the main character.

The story can be a historical event such as the life of a slave or a slave owner during the Civil War. It could also be a recount of a young girl’s recollection of attending the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee when she was 11 years old in 1982. A popular fictional story is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney.

  1. Adventure has always been a favorite in the young adult section of literature. These stories most often involve the main character on an obstacle-filled journey. A great example is “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.
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  1. Inner conflict makes a great story and these stories generally fit into a subgenre called family and relationships. These books focus on children, teens, or adults who have an inner or interpersonal conflict at some point in their life and this includes coming of age stories that tell about a young person moving from childhood to adulthood in a tough way. It sometimes involves a relationship or bullying but can also involve having to make a major life decision.
  • Chick lit is highly popular in young adult fiction. Written by women, these stories are often light and funny dealing with dating, relationships, and romance.
  • Just like with adult fantasy, there are many sub-genres of juvenile fantasy. The sub-genres are the same but it is basically that you want to stay in the land of imagination. The worlds are imaginary, there are myths and lots of magic. J.K. Rowling broke this genre wide open when she began to publish her “Harry Potter” series, but don’t forget about “Lord of the Rings” by the great JRR Tolkien.
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  • When I say the classics, it seems rather obvious that I’m speaking of time-honored books. However, there are modern classics as well. A good example of a modern classic is the book, “Tomorrow When The War Began” by John Marsden.
  • The LGBTQIA genre is becoming more and more popular so let’s look at what all those letters mean. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or sometimes Questioning), Intersex, and Asexual (or sometimes Allies). These stories focus on these subjects alone but can focus on any aspect of these subjects.
  • Contemporary Fiction deals with the present as we know it. These are the births that get recommended in the press, get critical acclaim, and stand out with young adults. A great example is Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi.”
  • Graphic novels, or comics, are very popular for 6th through 12th graders and these come in both fiction and non-fiction. The full-length works are only readable through both the picture and the text together. Sometimes a graphic novel will appeal to a reluctant reader but other graphic novels are so sophisticated that it takes an experienced reader to understand and decipher the meanings within.
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  1. Another subgenre is dystopian fiction. In these stories, there is an alternate or new world or a futuristic society. There is usually a mix of any of the following:
  • Degradation in values
    • Social hierarchy
    • Terror
    • Oppression

This is a great genre for secondary school teachers, primarily those for media studies, science, and social studies.

  • Gore and blood-soaked gowns with screams in the night fill the pages of the horror genre. These stories deal with vampires and skeletons, the supernatural, ghosts, and demons. So, if your teen, or tween, loves the bumps in the night and blood-curling screams, then point them to the young adult horror section of your favorite library or bookstore.
  • Mystery has so many subgenres of its own but you can check out the blog on mystery and suspense to see those as they will be the same. The mystery genre for young adults is often more toned-down which is a mystery, which is surprising since horror is most certainly not.
  • History is a part of literature no matter what age group we are discussing. And historical fiction is always fun. These stories are set in a specific time a place in history in a specific country and possibly in a specific area of that country. It could be during a time of peace or war, political upheaval, family desperation, the beginning of a nation, or the ending of a race of people. If the story stays true to the historical facts, the story can be about love, war, peace, family, or whatever your heart desires.
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  • Stories that make the reader laugh out loud at themselves as they read about characters that remind themselves of the craziness of real life often bring those readers back for more and more. Readers need that comic relief. Readers need an opportunity, permission, to laugh at themselves and the absurdity of their own life. Authors who give their readers that permission are special and rare.
  1. If I could rhyme

And save a dime

I’d live in heaven

All the time….

  • Hey, I know it sounds cheesy, but I love to rhyme…. Poetry is my first love. That’s where it all began for me. The poem was “Candlelit Dreams” and I was 10 years old. I have it around here somewhere, it has been published in an anthology and I know what shelf it is on but I can’t get to that shelf right now. Yes, that’s my life. So many books that I can’t get to them all. Poor me!
  • Poetry leads the world. If you like good music, you like poetry. If you like Shakespeare and Chaucer, you like poetry. If you like dancing in the rain with the love of your life, you like poetry because that is exactly what poetry is. Poetry does not have to rhyme, however, that is my preference. Poetry is expression. However you want to say it, or show it, or feel it, poetry is the expression of love, or hate, or anger, or rage, or romance, or any other emotion, feeling, or thought you have. Poetry is the genre that keeps the world moving and for teens and tweens, this is even more true.

Yes, adults write more sophisticated poetry. But, think about a poem written by a 14-year-old girl A who just found out that her best friend B kissed the boy that girl A has been in “LOVE” with for a “minute”. That poem will be wrought with emotion. There will be love for that boy, jealousy of that missed kiss, hate for the best friend, and it will all be in that one poem. So, yes, poetry rules the world.

  • Romance can be a genre all on its own but it is often a feature in any of the other genres. A love story in Sci-Fi, a hero rescue with a heroine kiss in a horror story, and so on. But, romance stories just for the sake of romance are extremely popular. Think Harlequin. Then, think Harlequin: Carina Adores; Harlequin Intrigue; Harlequin Romance Suspense; Love Inspired Special Releases; Harlequin Desire; Harlequin Medical Romance; Harlequin Special Edition; Love Inspired Suspense; Harlequin Heartwarming; Harlequin Presents; Harlequin Special Releases; Harlequin Historical; Harlequin Romance; Love Inspired.

When you write romance, you have to keep the characters real. Please don’t waste the reader’s time with too many lines of jibber-jabber of nothing. I’m talking about fillers like “Hi, how are you today?” and “Great, How are you?” No one cares in real life so don’t bother asking in the book. Get to the meat of the conversation. It’s okay once, maybe twice during the entire book, but not every single time two or more people come together.

Also, romance scenes need to be believable. If you have any questions about how to write a romance scene, read other writer’s work and practice your craft.

  • Short stories are great and you can often say more in a short story than you can in a full-length novel. Why? Because you know you have fewer words so you keep it tight. You use better words – words that can be used to say many words so that you shorten the length. Or better, a word to shorten your manuscript.  See, that’s better.

Your manuscript should always be tight, but when you know you need to write 90,000 words, you may get a little wordy – avoid it. Writing short stories are a great way to learn to not be words and is a great way to be a lucrative writer with young adults.

Tweens and teens who have a short attention span appreciate the short stories. They want to read, but they can’t follow a novel. So, reading short stories helps them to be able to enjoy the worlds of writers while being about to walk away after a couple of hours or days.

  1. I love to read books about the paranormal. Supernatural is great, too. These two deal with the good and evil of the world, relationships, conflict, and many times there are creatures such as ghosts and ghouls, vampires, and werewolves.
  • Steampunk is hard to explain but it is sort of a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy. It has the technology that is included in the science side of it and there are gadgets and things like that from the 1800s. It’s sort of like smashing the Victorian age with modern technology.
  • Science Fiction explains itself but now we just call it Sci-Fi which can be a little confusing to some, like my Mom.

Science Fiction can be really fun. You get to imagine what the world might be like in the future. Think back to Star Wars in the ‘70s or my go-to is my Sci-fi cartoon, The Jetsons, I wanted to drive their cars. It’s so fun to dream of the future. My cousin, and very good friend, Bryan Shrewsbury, told me in 1988 that it would not be long before we could talk to each other on the computer without having to pay for a phone call. I didn’t believe him but it was kind of fun to dream about sitting comfortably in my chair and typing with my bestie cousin friends in Maryland (I’m in Tennessee). Lo and Behold, now, Bryan and I can Zoom, and FaceTime, and chat on cell phones wherever we are. We don’t have to wait until 11:01 p.m. and plan to be by the phone on a certain night to make a phone call so that we could call at the least expensive time to be able to talk longer.

And that’s what Sci-Fi is: looking to what you want the future to be and when you do, someone out there will see your masterful idea and will eventually make it happen. So, Sci-Fi lovers keep writing young adult fiction, you’re powering the future of technology!

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  • Reluctant readers often start with verse novels. They are a form of poetry and allow the reader to think about life, love, and more. They are often autobiographical.

These novels are a fast read and are told from the point of a single narrator. They are intimate and give details about the author that will surprise those who know him or her.

I’ve enjoyed this week with the young adult genre, and I hope that you all have, too. I’m excited to get back to adults next week where we will kick off on Tuesday with the Thriller genre. Maybe we’ll play some Michael Jackson while we talk about evil thing lurking under the moonlight. Maybe I’ll even make you scream!!!!

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So, have a great weekend and I’ll see you Tuesday!

Genres: Young Adult

Just to touch base with all my Crazee fans, I am working on a concise post for the young adult genre that will be posted later this week. To check out the subject as we progress, check out the podcast on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at Chit Chat with the Crazee Chixz (buzzsprout.com)!

Follow our progress with our planner! We hope to share a post later this week letting your know what our ‘very basic outline’ looks like. We’d like to give you an idea of what is coming without giving you enough to steal it!!!! LOL JK, we know you’d never steal from these two Crazee Chixz!

Lots of love to you all! See you soon!

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Genre: Mystery and Suspense

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Was it a dark and rainy night? Was it Miss Scarlett in the Library with the Candlestick? Or was it just a cheesy beginning to a story you read eons ago? Either way, most readers have read a mystery or suspense story in their lifetime. Think “The Boxcar Children’s Mysteries” all the way up to John Grisham. No? What about Scooby-Doo? I LOVE me some Scoobs!  So does my son. There’s a local person who painted their van like the mystery machine as you can see below. My son and I hunted the streets of Kingsport, Tennessee, one day until we found it parked so I could get some pics of Jimmy posed with the Mystery Machine! How cool is that!?!

Jimmy Matthews standing by The Mystery Machine

So, what constitutes a mystery novel? When you write a mystery novel, you need to write about solving a crime or a puzzle. Your main character’s goal is to bring the story to a satisfactory solution. Now, having said that, I’m going to throw a wrench in this problem. I love mysteries that throw you for a loop at the end. Think “Sixth Sense”. I literally watched that movie straight through, saw the ending, snapped at my husband and we both said, “No way!” We rewound the movie and watch it again and analyzed each scene to see if it made sense to reach their conclusion. It did. Great movie!

To lay out a mystery novel, a writer typically places the crime or the details of the puzzle at the beginning of the story but leaves the details of the who did what, when, where, why, and how to the end. Great examples are Agatha Christie and Janet Evanovich. But, every great mystery writer knows that there are sub-categories to the genre including:

  • Noir which is a tough, hard-hitting, dark story with lots of brutal scenes. This is your tough guy, or gal, out to solve the crime or puzzle no matter what it takes. Think “Kill Bill”.
  • Police Procedural subsets feature someone in law enforcement who must use their investigative knowledge to prove the quilt of someone. These stories rarely care about who actually did the crime in a whodunit sense; the story is all about proving the guilt. Think “Law and Order.”
  • Private Eye subsets involve the same type of story as a police procedural except they do the job as a private citizen who is licensed to be hired to investigate.
  • Cozy mysteries are great for the reader who likes the mystery without the fear and the gore. There are no curse words, no violence, and there is no gore. Think Jan Christensen for a modern example or Miss Marple is a famous blast from the past.
  • Historical mystery subsets are sets in the past. No surprise there. As far as the antagonist, it can come from any of the other subsets: the antagonist can be a PI, a policeman, an amateur sleuth, a lawyer, or doctor and more. The only requirement is that the story stay in the past and that the language, scenes, and objects represent that time period (unless, of course, you’re just trying to be funny). Remember, we are writers! We can do anything we want to do. The question is…. Will anyone read it? Yikes!
  • Amateur Sleuth stories are fun. They are the ones where the average Joe jumps in and solves a crime. Is anyone thinking, “Murder, She Wrote!”? Well, it can be anyone. A plumber who notices that a pipe has been replaced in a house that is under investigation, a little, old granny who writes down the license plates of all the strangers in her neighborhood, or the kids who think the man down the street who buys all the fertilizer is weird. Think Hardy Boys here.
  • Legal mysteries usually involve lawyers solving crimes.
  • Medical mysteries usually involve doctors solving crimes or medical mysteries.

Let’s switch over to the suspense novel.

In a suspense novel, the story begins with the main character in danger but may not realize it. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Romantic Suspense most always has a female protagonist in danger while she’s diligently solving a crime. She works hard, fast, and in total control. She may get some assistance along the way, but she is in control. She solves the crime, saves herself, and puts the bad guys and gals in jail. And, almost always, there is a back-story of love and in the end, true love wins.
  • Psychological Suspense is my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE-GENRE! Back in the early 90s, I saw the movie “Fatal Attraction” and I was hooked on this genre. Complete action, love, lust, mind-games, and in the end, you still don’t know who the hell committed the crimes. It’s like you are an amateur sleuth along with the characters. You read the story or watch the movie and you see every detail. You are trying to decide how you can justify a logical ending but every single time, all you do is become more confused because any of those bitches could have been killers. Now, I apologize for all that language, but if you’ve ever seen “Fatal Attraction” you understand that the language is required to discuss that movie. So, while you are the amateur trying to keep up, the character is either a psychologist or psychiatrist. The novel explores psychological issues of various degrees. Another great example, and another huge favorite of mine, is “The Silence of the Lambs.”

As you can tell, this is the genre that gets me excited. When I wrote my young adult novel, “Only Seventeen,” it is written in the Cozy genre. But, I’ve also written a psychological thriller and trust me they are like night and day. I’m editing the psychological thriller now and hope to have it in print soon.

For now, though, I’m happy to read Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovitch, Jeffery Deaver, John Grisham, and Ray Bradbury. Let me know who your favorite mystery and suspense authors are and why you like them so much. You might introduce me to one that I haven’t found or help me find a story that has yet to catch my eye. I love to talk about books, so hit me up! 

Genres: Romance

By: Daphne M. Matthews of the Crazee Chixz

Let’s talk about Romance Novels!

Love is in the air....
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

Here’s the funny thing about Romance Novels: they did not start out to be what we know them as now. In the literary sense, a romance novel began as a story where the main character, usually a hero, goes on a quest and conquers a monster, a kingdom, etc. He might prove himself to his king by returning a stolen family jewel so that he can win the hand of his princess. There will be action and adventure, but the story is not really about love: the story is about the adventure. However, that is the literary definition of the Romance genre.

However, I’m sure you’re reading this blog post, or listening to this podcast and YouTube episode, for the modern version of the Romance genre. These stories are amazingly similar. Character has bad relationship after bad relationship. Character meets someone who totally annoys them (or totally enthralls them). Character falls madly in love. Character meets a major challenge that could end it all. Character gets love of character’s life and the ride off into the sunset.

These stories can move forward in different ways. Single parent needs a nanny/honey-do-list helper/lawn service and then boom. 

It could also be young man working on his masters and so focused that he doesn’t even notice the female best friend that he’s had since 3rd grade until they agree to go to a required mixer together because they have no one else in her life and she shows up in a single shoulder, sequenced, black, split leg dress and boom.

It could also be a 30 something character in prison who has grown up in a bad home, bad neighborhood, bad life all together and has been in prison since this character was 17 for a gang murder. But, during the character’s last three years in prison, there is a nurse who actually cares. This nurse asks questions about the character including, “How are you today?” and really cares about the answer. So, as release day approaches, the character doesn’t want to leave. The character can’t imagine life without seeing this nurse every day. And, boom.

So, with romance, even though the premise of the story is basically the same, authors can and do make great romance genre stories that don’t seem the same. Single authors churn out hundreds of these stories and make each one its own without making you feel like you’ve repeatedly read the same story.

So, if you love the Romance genre and you want to share the stories and character in your head with others, create your own Romance Novel, make it your own, and share it with the world.