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MYSTERY BOOKS: KNOW IT ALL

MYSTERY BOOKS: KNOW IT ALL

 

 

Mystery has always been a favorite among readers. It is a genre of fiction that follows a crime (like a murder or a disappearance) from the moment it is committed to the moment it is solved. The term comes from the Latin word mysterium, meaning “a secret thing.” They are often called “whodunits” because they turn the reader into a detective trying to figure out the who, what, when, and how of a particular crime. Most mysteries feature a detective or private eye solving a case as the central character.

 

Most critics and scholars credit Edgar Allan Poe with inventing the modern mystery. He published a short story called The Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841 that featured Auguste C. Dupin, literature’s first fictional detective. It was a groundbreaking moment that saw the creation of an entirely new literary genre.

 

Sub-Genres of Mystery and Crime Fiction

 

Mystery and crime fiction often fall into four separate sub-genres, each with its own characteristics.

Mystery book

1. Detective novels: These are crime novels that center around a detective (professional, amateur, or retired) investigating a crime or solving a murder case. Detective novels generally start with a mysterious incident or death and unfold as the detective follows leads, investigates suspects, and ultimately solves the case. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the world to the famous Sherlock Holmes in 1887, when he first began writing the series of stories featuring the popular detective. Other well-known detective novelists include Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Sue Grafton.

 

2. Cozy mysteries: To solve a case, the detective in a cozy mystery often uses their intellect as opposed to police procedures. The genre has some overlap with detective novels; for example, Agatha Christie is considered both a detective novelist and a cozy mystery novelist.

 

3. Police procedural: These are mystery novels featuring a protagonist who is a member of the police force. Well-known police procedural novelists include Ed McBain, P. D. James, and Bartholomew Gill.

Caper stories

4. Caper stories: These are mystery stories told from the point of view of the criminals rather than the detective trying to catch them. They take readers inside the crimes and heists, giving them full access to their motives, tricks, and swindles. Unlike most mysteries, caper stories often include elements of humor. Well-known caper story novelists include W. R. Burnett, John Boland, Peter O’Donnell, and Michael Crichton.

 

Some mystery novels break from the traditional format to heighten suspense or play with readers’ expectations. Most mysteries follow roughly the same structure of the crime, followed by the investigation, the twist, the essential breakthrough, and the conclusion.

 

Why Should You Read Mystery Books?

Why Should You Read Mystery Books

We read mysteries for the same reasons we read romance or women’s fiction or sci-fi. We love to escape into brilliant prose and fascinating stories. We find ourselves instantly involved in the characters’ lives, and being there with them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, and experiencing their emotional journey. What happens is that our view of the world grows.

 

Mysteries do give us comfort and they can be uplifting because they make order out of chaos. We are taken to the brink of disaster, and then brought back to safety by the use of logic, human ingenuity, and the “little grey cells.” They also offer a puzzle to be solved, which exercises the brain. Humans generally feel better about themselves when we’re actively engaging our brains in something rather than passively observing.

 

Mystery readers are intelligent people. The mystery story appeals to their sense of curiosity. They enjoy the action. They love to analyze the psychological makeup and motivational drives of characters. Most mystery readers are interested in how and why a crime is committed as they are in who committed it. Sifting through clues and red herrings as the story progresses adds challenge. Mystery readers have a strong sense of justice and expect evildoers to be punished. Most mysteries provide this kind of ending. A mystery story allows the reader to experience danger, suspense, and fear while seated in a nice safe armchair. Mystery fans also want to marvel at the genius of the detective as he finally solves the crime. Indeed, the reader loves to match wits with the sleuth and the criminal—and the author. Perhaps the most satisfying experience a mystery novel reader can have is to figure out “whodunit” before the end of the book.

 

The modern mystery has broadened its appeal even more, by including elements of other genres such as history, romance, travel, and other cultures. There’s something for everyone in a good mystery novel. Is it any wonder it is fast approaching the level of readership of romance novels?

 

How to Select a Mystery Book to Read?

How to Select a Mystery Book to Read

There are a plethora of mystery books available, but some of the best mysteries include these elements:

 

  1. A strong hook: A great mystery should invite the reader to try to solve the crime, and a great opening is critical to piquing their interest. A mystery should start with just enough information about the crime to build intrigue from the first line. This is the defining moment when a reader chooses whether or not they want to continue. If the dramatic element is missing from the beginning, the reader expects the rest of the book to be the same. The first chapter should initiate the mystery, aligning the reader with the central character on the crime-solving adventure.

 

  1. An atmospheric setting: Stories in this genre should create an ominous, uneasy mood through setting to support the anxiety of an unknown antagonist lurking in the shadows. Think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes slinking through the London fog in search of a killer. Settings in mysteries also offer opportunities to plant clues and red herrings.

 

  1. A crime: A crime is an event that fuels the plot in a mystery novel. Revealed in the first chapter, a crime creates the central conflict that launches the investigation, sending the main character on their quest and spurring the narrative arc.

crime

  1. A sleuth: At the heart of every mystery is the main character determined to solve the crime. Mystery writer Raymond Chandler created private detective Philip Marlowe to be a crime solver in his novels. A writer can raise the stakes by making the detective personally invested in solving the crime. Mysteries can center on an amateur investigator—an average citizen who solves the case. The character development of the sleuth is important; they need a back-story that connects them to the crime or the killer, and a motive that explains why solving this crime is important to them.

 

  1. A villain: A mystery is often called a whodunit because the culprit is unknown until they’re caught at the end. The story follows their movements, which propel the story forward. The main character and the reader discover the criminal’s identity as the plot reaches its climax.

 

  1. Narrative momentum: A mystery plot is in constant motion thanks to a cat-and-mouse narrative thread. The pacing will quicken the closer the plot moves towards the climax and the closer the main character gets to solving the crime.

 

  1. A trail of clues: Clues are the literary element that allows mystery stories to engage readers on a deeper level than other types of fiction. The reader becomes an amateur sleuth, following the trail of clues to try to discover the identity of the culprit. When writing mysteries, an author needs to have an organized writing process to keep track of what clues they’re creating, when they appear, and who knows what to make sure the plot lines make sense.

A trail of clues

  1. Foreshadowing: Mysteries often drop hints of things that will happen in the future. This is known as foreshadowing. A writer can hint at a future event with a small clue or through character dialogue. Writers can be more or less direct with foreshadowing, either subtly hinting at future events or explicitly stating what will happen.

 

  1. Red herrings: A good mystery throws the reader off track. Red herrings are an essential element in mysteries. These false clues build tension by creating other suspects and distracting the detective—and the reader—and leading them away from the real culprit. A writer creates red herrings by placing extra emphasis on an object, event, or character that catches a reader’s attention, making that element seem more significant than it is to the storyline. In Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, there are 10 characters who are all potential suspects. Christie creates red herrings by killing off each character one by one, creating plot twists that send the reader into new directions in search of the killer.

 

  1. A satisfying ending: At the end of great mystery novels there is the big reveal—the sleuth discovers the identity of the culprit. An ending should also provide an alibi for any other suspects to strengthen the identity of the real killer and eliminate doubt, tying up loose ends.

 

Benefits of Reading Mystery Books

Benefits of Reading Mystery Books

There is a reason why mystery novels are one of the best-selling genres of all time. Well, it is more than just the enjoyment of reading them. Mystery books with great narrative and structure give the readers a whole lot more. If you haven’t tried to read a book from this genre, you should. It is worth the try and will surely keep you coming back for more. It keeps your heart thumping and makes you break a sweat like you are part of an actual scene. However, there are many surprising and unexpected benefits that you can surely get from reading the genre. Below are some of the benefits you can get by reading mystery fiction:

 

  1. Exercises Your Brain

It is important to enhance your mental capacity to have standout success in life. One way you can do to make this happen is by giving your brain a good exercise or workout. Once you stimulate your brain. You are giving yourself a chance to learn new things. Just like reading any other genre, the mystery genre also helps you with your comprehension skills. Mystery novels feature a story that will require a lot of problem-solving, which can surely give your brain a good squeeze. Your brain will naturally try and help the main character provide solutions to each problem that may arise in the story.

 

  1. Helps You Make Friends

Books, in general, help readers with a human connection. Books will allow you to express your thoughts to other people. You will be able to have a bond with readers who also like what you read. It is always great to have someone who understands you. As mentioned, mystery or thriller novels are one of the most-read genres in the world. You will never know when you meet someone that shares the same interest as yours.

 

  1. Reduces Your Stress

Sometimes, people need to forget the real-world momentarily to have peace of mind. This will help them avoid further complications, such as depression and anxiety. If you are looking for ways to help you with this aspect, reading should be your first option. A mystery or thriller novel is a good choice. This will give you a different feeling than those other genres and surely make you forget the real world. Plus, it will give you a sense of relief like no other. This happens when a character has surpassed something; you will also feel like you have surpassed something.

 

  1. Gives You Hope, Wisdom, and Knowledge

Knowledge, wisdom, and hope empower one’s mind and broadens its range. Like what other genres offer when it comes to giving these aspects in life, mystery books also do the same. When you read the mystery genre, that detective self of yours will also start to act as one. You try to understand the situation, which will require you to know some new words and apprehensions. Reading will allow you to interact with a world full of knowledge. It gives you hope by letting you feel like your life is not as messy as you may think it is. It gives you the idea that everything will be okay in the future.

The mystery genre can be one of the best choices. Hopefully, this blog will lead you to go to your nearest bookstore and purchase a book from this genre.

 

The Wonderful World Of Graphic Novels

graphic novels

The Wonderful World Of Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels are creating a lot of buzz these days. Different graphic novels are published suitable for different age groups. They are also published in different genres and are not just about superheroes as is the common misconception. A graphic novel is a genre that combines words and images. Graphic novels can be fiction, non-fiction, history, fantasy, or anything in-between.

graphic novel

 

What are Graphic Novels?

For many, the word comics denotes a periodical for children, published on a weekly or monthly basis, sold at newsstands or in specialty comic book stores, often with pages devoted to advertising and, when intended for younger readers, competitions, and puzzles. In contrast, a graphic novel is usually taken to mean a long comic narrative for a mature audience, published in hardback or paperback and sold in bookstores, with serious literary themes and sophisticated artwork.

Graphic novels are similar to comic books because they use sequential art to tell a story. Unlike comic books, graphic novels are generally stand-alone stories with more complex plots. Collections of short stories that have been previously published as individual comic books are also considered graphic novels.

Calling something a graphic novel isn’t just a fancy way of saying “comic book.” There’s a very clear difference between the two. While a comic book will tell a story over many issues, graphic novels more often have their storylines wrapped up in only one or two books.

Both comic books and graphic novels use a combination of illustrations and words to tell a story. That story can be anything, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, the tale of a superhero or a zombie apocalypse. The difference isn’t so much in the content but the presentation.comic book

Comic books are serialized stories; most are relatively short and tell the story of the book’s heroes and heroines over a long period of time. There are usually many, many issues of a successful comic book, and the stories unfold over months and sometimes years.

Graphic novels are longer works that tell a single story from the beginning to the end. (Sometimes, successful comic books will be collected and packaged in a graphic novel format.) Because stories don’t have to be broken up over countless issues, plots can often be more complex and more detailed.

Graphic novels actually pre-date comic books. It’s thought that the first graphic novel ever published was the 1783 adaptation of Gottfried August Burger’s Lenardo und Blandine. Illustrated by Joseph Franz von Goez, the 160-frame work tells the story of two ill-fated lovers.

Comic books cornered the market for decades until a resurgence in the popularity of graphic novels. In the 1980s and 1990s, British authors like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman brought graphic novels back into the mainstream market. Graphic novels have enjoyed a period of underground popularity as artists and writers tried to make the separation between mediums clear. Graphic novels got a reputation as being gritty, explicit, and for mature audiences, while comic books were relegated to more mainstream popularity.

Major Types of Graphic Novels

Like traditional novels, there are endless ways to categorize different graphic novels. There are as many genres and sub-genres as in traditional fiction and non-fiction. The following are only a few of the most predominant categories.

Manga: The Japanese word for “comic” but in the US is used to describe Japanese-style comics. Manga is read from top to bottom and right to left as this is the traditional Japanese reading pattern. Though technically Manga refers to Japanese comics, many think Manga refers to a style rather than the country of origin.
Titles: Death Note, Full Metal AlchemistManga

Superhero Story: Superhero graphic novels have taken the most popular form of comics and turned what were once brief episodic adventures into epic sagas. Superhero comics are dominated by a few mainstream publishers Marvel, DC, and Darkhorse.
Titles: Batman: Dark Knight Returns, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Atrocity.superhero story

Personal Narratives (“Perzines”): Autobiographical stories are written from the author’s personal experiences, opinions, and observations.
Titles: Fun Home, Blankets, Lucky, The Quitter.

Non-fiction: are similar to perzine’s in that they are written from the author’s personal experience. Still, the author is generally using their own experience to touch upon a greater social issue.
Titles: Pedro and Me, Maus, Persepolis.

 

Unprecedented Popularity

Comics have deep roots in America whether it’s the newspaper strip or the superhero comics. They have a deep place in the American psyche, and it’s an American form of storytelling, even though it’s all over the world.

A decade ago, the sounds coming out of the comic book industry were grim and looked hopeless. Then a couple of things happened: Hollywood began basing movies on graphic novels coupled with the emergence of Manga, which has been popular in Japan since the 1960s.

The boom in the last ten years in this category is due to the popularity of Japanese comics with young readers.

Publishers and Bookstores rejoiced in this newfound interest and bookshelves were filled with a variety of graphic novels.

As a result of this, critics started to recognize the artistic value of graphic novels with awards, and educators started using them as teaching material.

Reasons for Graphic Novels’ Popularitypopular graphic novels

  1. The images give an overview of the story: By looking at the images, one can get a sense immediately of what is happening.
  2. They are fast-paced: Graphic novels move quickly. The plots are exciting, and there is often a good dose of action along the way.  This makes them exciting to read, circumnavigating the ‘I hate reading’ problem.
  3. The images reinforce not replace the language: At first, it may seem that this is just a glorified picture book, but with a really good graphic novel a full understanding is only really reached when the words and illustrations work together. A kid may begin by skimming, but they’ll soon be turning back to re-read to gain a better understanding of what is happening.
  4. The language is high quality: A really good graphic novel has to pair great illustrations with clear dialogue, the language, and the images work together to create the story. With so little space for words, they are chosen with a great deal of care for maximum impact.
  5. They can be read over and over…and over: Graphic novels are often a quick read, but immensely fun, making them an ideal comfort read which you can go back from time to time.

Who Is Reading Them?

Children and teen readers love graphic novels because of their easy-to-read mix of text and visual content. Graphic novels are preferable for readers of limited attention spans. With the advent of the online age and smartphones, young readers’ attention spans have shortened. Academic recognition has also widened exposure to graphic novels, as has e-book lending. Serial graphic novels make the digital format an efficient stocking medium, and tech-savvy teens respond better to digital content.

Adults with limited free time, or who are too exhausted when they have free time, are also gravitating to graphic novels and short stories. Adult readers have discovered that graphic novels possess more depth than the comic books of their youth. The illustrated stories that unfold in graphic novels have the complexity, depth, and variety of traditional novels. With less text, they are easier to consume; they stimulate enjoyment by being entertaining, and they have emotional appeal while providing the intellectual stimulation adults seek in novels.

Critically acclaimed books by Dave Gibbon (Watchmen, released in 1987), Art Spiegelman (Maus, released in 1991), and Alan Moore’s trendsetting works boosted these writers’ circulation.

In this decade, traditional publishers have published other acclaimed books by authors including Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, released in 2006), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis, released in 2000), Raina Telgemier (Smile, released in 2010), and Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth, released in 2000).

Why Graphic Novels with LGBT or Sexual Orientation Content Are Increasing

LGBT students are present in almost every high school. Researchers have reported that they constitute between approximately three to ten percent of the student body. School bullying and the high rate of suicide attempts by bullied LGBT pupils appear to be rising. Writers of graphic novels explore this content more because they have researched the preferences of their target audience, including educators, who are using these stories for teaching purposes.

 

What Do You Need Before Making a Graphic Novel?

designing graphic novel

Authors wishing to delve into the world of graphic novels need many of the same things that a traditional writer needs. Some are practical, and some are stylistic. They include:

  • Both a writer and an illustrator. Perhaps you can both write and draw. If not, you’ll need to find a partner.
  • A good narrative with a compelling storyline. You’ll want to center it around a three-dimensional main character and set it in a detailed world. In this way, creating a graphic story is no different from novel writing.
  • Strong creative writing skills. You’ll need to show an equal facility with dialogue and narration.
  • A visual style guide. This informs how characters and settings will be drawn.
  • A graphic storyboard. A create a storyboard like the ones used in filmmaking will help you plot each panel of sequential art in your graphic novel. A storyboard can be formally drawn on large panels or written informally in an artist’s sketchbook.

 Tips on How to Write a Graphic Novel

thinking

When you set off to make a graphic novel, you draw on your creative writing skills, your illustration and storyboarding skills, and (most likely) your collaborative skills. If you have a background in writing comics, that can certainly help, but typically the graphic novel format is longer and more detailed than the comic book format. Whether you’re writing your first graphic novel or your tenth, here are some writing tips to make the process as productive as possible:

  1. Study other comics and graphic novels. It’s hard to delve into a graphic format for the first time without understanding comics as a medium.
  2. Pick a visually interesting setting for your graphic novel. Every graphic novel page contains two forms of illustration: foregrounds and backgrounds. The backgrounds reveal your setting; make sure these are interesting enough to sustain a book-length story.
  3. Give your graphic novel just as much textured detail as you’d give a traditional novel. If you’re writing your first graphic novel after completing prior prose novels, approach the writing process the same way. You’ll need a compelling protagonist with a well-considered backstory, a cadre of supporting characters, an antagonistic villain (or supervillain) who’s at the source of the main conflict. But note that graphic novels don’t limit writers to two-dimensional stock villains. The “villain” of a graphic novel could be something as abstract as systemic injustice.
  4. As you outline, storyboard, and write, start thinking about sequels. Graphic novels rarely exist a la carte; most are part of limited series. Some can span longer than that, but they rarely continue forever like the comic strips of famous cartoonists. As you plan your graphic novel, consider ways to make it a much larger graphic story told in installments.
  5. Write for a graphic novel audience. During the writing process, it’s important to keep in mind that the people who voraciously consume graphic novels are not necessarily the same people who read traditional prose novels. They might not even read short-form comic books. If you don’t know graphic novel readers, seek them out. Of course, the easiest way to understand a fan’s mentality is to become a fan yourself. Then write the kind of stories that you, as a fan, would like to read.
  6. Don’t get carried away with length. Graphic novels ideally should not be longer than 200-250 pages. That includes both the text and the illustration. So, your story should not exceed 100 to 125 pages. Many graphic novels are just 100 pages with just 50 pages of text.
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