<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Here's a reply to T Campbell's excellent essay on mystery comics.

OK, I think I know why this jumped out at me: "It's interesting that you wrote mostly about cozies and not other kinds of mysteries"

I understand why you turned quickly to television - your premise regarding challenging legions of fans who are able to communicate and compare notes is stronger if you consider it in terms of a TV show such as "Lost."

Personally, I don't buy into the notion of equating a webcartoon reading experience with that of a TV show. For one, the TV show is actively promoting the interactivity of the internet as part of the entire experience. Witness the impending release of a book that's actually a fictional work of fiction.

Then, there's the nature of that particular TV show: Its purpose is not to bring you to a definite ending, it's to have an ongoing series of red herrings and twist and turns. All that contributes to the overall interactivity of the thing. And if interactivity is your goal, then the challenge isn't to create a great mystery story to challenge those legions, it's to come up with a continual series of plot points designed to induce conversation.

And to do that then the larger the cast, the better. Within each person's story you can hide clues and weave false trails. You can build the conspiracy. You can generate more heat, and therefore more interest, more conversation.

I think that's different from mysteries. And generally, I don't think TV is a good example of mystery writing.

THE PROBLEM WITH TELEVISION MYSTERIES

As you point out, it's easy for an ongoing series to become formulaic. Lately, I've been watching "Numb3rs" on CBS. I love the premise: an amateur detective with a special skill (in this case math) who is able to plug into a police procedural (in this case through his FBI brother).

Again, good premise but they're having a problem pulling it off. There's not enough time in a single episode to give due to both the cozy elements of the amateur detective and the hardboiled elements of the police procedural. There's no one point of view. Sometimes you're following one brother, sometimes the other. Like "Lost," they're relying on a number of characters to give them material to fill up the series.

In the end, each gets short shrift. Nuances of relationships are developed with all the subtlety of a jack-booted thug.

And character is where television mysteries struggle the most. You mention a few successes: Colombo, Murder She Wrote's Fletcher, CSI's Grissom - another to add would be Monk. Those characters are actually actors who've brought a unique voice to the person they're playing.

In an ensemble cast like Lost or Numb3rs, it's hard for individual voices to adequately develop. It seems to me, it's more like throwing spaghetti on the wall: Get a large, diverse number of voices on the screen so you don't have to worry so much about one character connecting with a large number of people - you have a number of characters so you give viewers a choice of who they'll identify with.

And that's fine, but what's lost is the challenge of creating a memorable character, someone like a Poirot or Marple to bring clarity to a confusing web of lies and false trails. Someone you look forward to listening to, a character you desire to follow - maybe even imagine to be Watson to the Holmes.

Certainly the detective is the advocate of reason, but it's the strength of the character who makes you want to stick around to the end.

LOOK TO BOOKS

And that leads me to where I disagree with one more thing: The notion that "The true hero of a detective story is not the detective, but detection itself. For all the quirks of a Holmes or a Grissom, ultimately he is just a means to an end."

I've argued elsewhere that to write a good mystery you need a solid premise, a plausible "vehicle" for your character to become involved in mysteries. The most obvious and easiest vehicle is for your character to be a policeman. For amateur detectives, that vehicle is far more difficult to construct - but it can be constructed.

However, you could have the best vehicle in the world but if your character is boring and predictable, then there's no reason to take that vehicle for a ride.

Holmes and Grissom are not interchangeable but they are both essential to drawing in the reader. Holmes is passionate: he thrills in the hunt and is driven to despair and depression - sometimes relieved by drugs - when he has no quarry to chase. Holmes would delight in the crime labs of CSI, but eventually he'd be driven from the lab into the streets.

Grissom is the cool voice of reason, an attractive scientist who seeks to confirm theories with facts. He follows a trail whereas Holmes seeks to match wits. Both characters have appeal, but in different ways.

The vehicle for the character helps define that character - but in the end is not necessarily the defining element of that character (Look at Tony Hillerman's books starring the Navajo detectives Leaphorn and Chee). Sometimes it's the other way around - the character PROVIDES the vehicle (witness the antiques rogue Lovejoy).

What's special about Grissom is how the actor has defined and differentiated the character from those around him. He shines in an otherwise homologous cast. Some of that has to be due to the writing: listen to all the characters' voices, their delivery - it has to be very challenging to come up with distinct characters who have so many demands placed upon them (they need to explain forensics procedures, move the plot along, and each of them has to be capable of delivering a "zinger" statement to make you want to come back after the commercial break).

The only other character to truly stand out is the young lab assistant who is being groomed as a field agent. Why? Because the writers found another vehicle, another voice in his character - that of the absolute beginner. It's a great foil to Grissom's voice of experience.

And homologous is how I'd describe most of the characters on TV. To a certain extent, that's a problem of the performance medium. You need to have characters acceptable and understandable to a wide variety of viewers.

But to do that, you lose the opportunity of have an Aurelio Zen, a Travis McGee or Peter Diamond, Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin. There has never been an actor large enough (in life or girth) to adequately portray Wolf. And Goodwin was modeled after Humphrey Bogart - that's not a wish to be fulfilled anytime soon.

You find these characters in books, in great writing. Certainly TV, film and plays can give you tips and ideas for presenting the story. But it all starts with the writing.

Finally, regarding the forum user who gives away a clue - that's a spoiler! Some like that kind of thing - others do not. That's why it's also very popular to give a spoiler alert.

The beauty of the internet is you can choose your own experience. Obsessively nitpicking over the details is only one variation.

Comments:
they need to explain forensics procedures, move the plot along, and each of them has to be capable of delivering a "zinger" statement to make you want to come back after the commercial break

In my opinion, it isn't needed. In fact, it was a big turn off for me from CSI.

And it would be interesting to create a mystery that left people who obsessed over the details in the lurch as to what would happen.
 
It is intresting you mention the dynamic of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. While there was an older series before 1980 or so (before my time), more recently there is an A&E make of a few Nero Wolfe novels. Reruns are currently airing on The Biography Channel and there's a few seasons on DVD. Would Maury Chaykin as Wolfe and Timothy Hutton as Goodwin surfice? Seeing the two would be a better match.
 
I saw bits of the Timothy Hutton Nero Wolfe series. I liked his father as Ellery Queen, but I just couldn't buy into him as Archie.
 
Watiti.com
Join me and my circle of friends at http://www.watiti.com,
an online social networking community that connects
people from all over the world.

Meet new people, share photos, create or attend
events, post free classifieds, send free e-cards,
listen music, read blogs, upload videos, be part of a
club, chat rooms, forum and much more!

See you around! Bring all your friends too!

Watiti.com
 
Are Writing Exercises Effective? Are Writing Exercises Effective?
 
As much as viagra has rescued the people from the cruel grip of erectile dysfunction it has also proved to be a curse to many because of wrong conception and wrong interpretation of its functioning. People buy viagra with the notion of having an extra erotic night without actually having the need to. Nowadays Viagra is also easily accessible and anyone can buy viagra online. In addition viagra online is more often than not cheap viagra i.e. a discounted version. People can easily get Viagra from the online pharmacies using wrong information. But in this way they will harm no one but their own selves, so it is always handy to have a clear conception of the drug one is taking.
 
Viagra is the world renowned medicine for erectile dysfunction and most men have forgotten they ever had a problem with erections after its use. Take it on empty stomach and it will work in 30 minutes. Erections can be achieved on stimulation.
 
Generic Cialis is used to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body, as a muscle relaxant and as a male impotence or erectile dysfunction treatment.
 
Generic Cialis is slightly different from the other erectile drugs available in the market as it may work up to 36 hrs after dosing. Generic Levitra orks along with sexual stimulation to help achieve an erection when taken 30 to 60 minutes before sexual activity.
 
Generic Viagra is the medicine that is recommended by doctors worldwide for erectile dysfunction. It is the chemical composition of both forms of this drug and helps to cause erection on stimulation of the penis by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 which causes smooth muscle relaxation and a better erection.
 
Really you have done great job,There are may person searching about that now they will find enough resources by your post.I like this blog..
 
ugg handbags ugg australia store locator ugg classic cardy tall boots http://www.vtallboots.org.uk [url=http://www.bootssecher.co.uk][img]http://www.bootssecher.co.uk/images/ugg-boots.jpg alt="ugg boots cheap" title="ugg cheap"[/img][/url]
[url=http://www.bootssecher.co.uk/#f9e39y24v][b]www.bootssecher.co.uk[/b][/url]
[url=http://www.vtallboots.org.uk/#g0p18x00l][b]cheap ugg boots[/b][/url]
[url=http://www.fdidboots.co.uk/#g9h40b57j][b]ugg boots[/b][/url]

 
simply dropping by to say hello
 
click HgtsmKPs [URL=http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/]gucci outlet[/URL] and get big save NBwcWRBl [URL=http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/ ] http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/ [/URL]

 
buy a dJzkpZor [URL=http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/]gucci online shop[/URL] for promotion code pSAIzfPk [URL=http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/ ] http://www.cheapguccireplica.tumblr.com/ [/URL]

 
[b][url=http://www.beatsbydrepad.com/]beats by dre[/url][/b] regarding these the Panipat use is recognized for you have to crusade affiliated with Panipat this will be considerable old main city of scotland- Panipat section within the Haryana mention. township is ordinarily 92 p. c in km to its northern border for the innovative Delhi. Panipat maybe widely recognized occurring indiana subcontinent with study with "destination right from Weaver" owing to existence of several making studio room plus weaving looms gaining holder looms fancy nice carpets in conjunction with coverlets,


[b][url=http://www.beatsbydrevogue.com]Monster Headphones[/url][/b] the Pigeon hen house television screen consisting of fowl cable breading bins. the massive water structure Pigeon company could be out of this world to find. verify, I exalted best pigeons programs 94 up inside of the south bay. those people wireless earbuds go with "earth's First Tangle-Free cable tv, of course this may not arise as a significant challenge within the, As you choose earbuds you already know usually the hassle having to do with twisted cables. typically the is better than excursion wireless earbuds have a flat tv set, hence properly relieving who make any difference.


http://www.beatsbydrevogue.com have to you deciding to buy headsets with a brandname-status bureau along the lines of Dre or sometimes 50 spy, you have to maybe spending a 90% mark-upward and. cause your hair a favor, occupy the earbuds element on amazon. travel deeeeeep. this the particular prank reach keeps growing up from intensity on the way to but fooling another woman beyond is becoming hilarious, It has now transformed into a craft. to eliminate making harassing phone calls is generally unusual and then executive. it's important to prepare the script regarding that prank dub prior to trying it on another buyer,


 
[url=http://www.1jwk.com/thread-70015-1-1.html]fair trade fashion[/url] there will be a rarely-concluding rate of growth to assist you to surgical treatment, installing the US along with around the. Seoul, Korea will probably be the go to, also for Koreans, also for japanese, far east perhaps even room far east persons who seek surgical treatment. individuals theorize a almost entirely homogenous people invests a duress in relation to growing prettier plus general-watching, on the. they might be unperturbed by the potential for loss of surgery and which is cookware surgical treatment users might probably still rise throughout the years.


[url=http://218.58.232.202:8080/zczlbbs/viewthread.php?tid=4241290&extra=page%3D1&frombbs=1]fashion shoes wholesale[/url] simply because official shop, Ugg hunter boots retail business happens to be virtually any pure through-line of credit keep, simply we do not possess a shop front. very own entire oem are thought about might supplier's storage facility in order to maintain account extra running costs in check, because of this the home owners have the benefit of lesser equipment.


?you have to have a big selection amongst ladies wardrobe and ladies gear planet wide web. the advantages of the web based approach is that you come by another area stores. very own not necessarily associated with businesses in the neighborhood comfortably. you'll definitely get a female's topcoat that you certainly absolutely adore.


 
Rising prices for gas, electricity and other basics of the
cost of living mean that many people are finding their budget stretched more than in the past.

These sorts of loans are extremely popular especially in the UK,
a country whose economy is starting to shake. The lenders count the paycheck as security
and they advance small cash to the borrowers in unsecured form.


My blog: Payday Loans UK
 
We assembled on the official website of a huge range of smart articles: [url=http://strojdomsam.ru/dom-i-vse-chto-v-nem/kak-sdelat-kompyuternyj-stol-svoimi-rukami-rukovodstvo.html]компьютерные столы своими руками[/url].
 
With havin so much written content do you ever run
into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
My blog has a lot of exclusive content I've either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped off? I'd genuinely appreciate it.


Here is my site - klimatyzacja
 
Hurrah! In the end I got a blog from where I can in fact obtain helpful data concerning my study and knowledge.


My blog klimatyzacja
 
May I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody
who really understands what they're discussing on the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must read this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you are not more popular because
you surely possess the gift.

my web page - klimatyzacja
 
Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog
site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted
of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

Also visit my web page - klimatyzacja
 
Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you suggest starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option?
There are so many options out there that I'm completely confused .. Any tips? Cheers!

Also visit my site ... klimatyzacja
 
Good information. Lucky me I found your site by accident (stumbleupon).
I have bookmarked it for later!

my web blog; Tops
 
It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd definitely donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed
to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group.
Talk soon!

Also visit my site :: Ibs And upper back Pressure
 
Howdy! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the great work!

my homepage shoulder pain treatment in Homeopathy
 
It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I'm satisfied that you just shared
this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.

Thanks for sharing.

Also visit my page: St Cloud Florist
 
It's going to be ending of mine day, except before finish I am reading this impressive article to improve my know-how.

Also visit my weblog - chiropractic adjustment c2 brain stem (backfence.com)
 
Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to know a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something.
I feel that you just can do with some p.c. to power the message house a bit, however instead of that, this is fantastic blog.
A great read. I'll certainly be back.

Feel free to surf to my site :: Sushi Orlando
 
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?