Thriller versus Mystery

I was following a fabulous feed via @joannaharness on Twitter form a writer’s conference, when a speaker (apologies the name evades me) said:

‘A thriller is a bad thing is about to happen and we have to stop it’  and
‘A mystery is a bad thing happened and we need to find out why’

At first, I was blown away by the succinct definitions, until I examined my current WIP, which is the first book in a series. I am calling it a crime thriller; although on reading the above definitions, I find my contemplating where it actually falls?

The currently untitled WIP begins with the discovery of a body – hence the mystery would appear to be the correct definition. Yes, we do need to know why, but then we discover that there’s a missing person, who may or may not be connected with the dead person. There is mystery again, but then the reader has the thrill of searching for them and wondering whether something bad may happen to them too.

My third novel is a psychological thriller, which although it has a pacy plot, it focuses a lot on the internal machination’s of the characters – hence the psychology tag.

I’m not sure that there’s such a defined distinction between a thriller and a mystery – for me, the two are intertwined, and one needs the other.

What I believe is important in this genre, is that the reader is getting what they hoped for – suspense; shock;sometimes a brutal description of a crime or murder; emotional turmoil; twists; character interaction that moves the plot along and intrigue.

That is what I hope for when I read a novel in this genre – Lynda La Plante does it for me.
I’m finding this WIP a challenge which is giving me a thrilling ride that I know won’t be over for a while yet.

Happy Word Flow One & All

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