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Dropping boots, sneakers, 


loafers, or gumshoes? 


     A mystery, I’m told, is when both shoes have dropped, and what remains is to figure out who dropped them . . . on what, and when, and where, and why, and how.  Super sleuth Sherlock Holmes leads the parade.

     A suspense story, on the other hand, is when having already gone through the dropping of one shoe, we need to be (as Thoreau once advised) “forever on the alert” in anticipation of what the who, what, when, where, why and how the other shoe will be dropped.  Alfred Hitchcock movies are prime examples:  The Birds, Psycho, North By Northwest, et al. 

     Neither of these writing challenges –mystery or suspense– is by any means simple, and both have varying degrees of tension sandwiched into and between the action scenes.

     So, okay, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture, okay? 

     Good.  Here we go then:

     Which of these genres best describes your life right now? 

     Are you, for example, living a mystery or keeping everyone around you in suspense? 

     Hopefully, neither of these terms serves your modus operandi.  I would like to think things are more in the healthy “comedy” zone for you, but reality dictates that we all vacillate from one to the other, and can make that shift at the drop of one’s jaw! 

     Of course, some folks lives are best identified as “sci-fi”, or “high drama,” or (ahem!) “erotica” or “chicklit.”  And then there’s (ho-hum) “nonfiction”-labeled lives of rational, logical, unemotional existences.  

     Ah, yes, and lest we forget: “literary fiction” —mostly Ivy League graduates who lie alot (especially politicians!)— which probably represents the closest lifestyle to those who live their lives as if they were inside “children’s picture books.”  HA!  Know a few people who fit that, huh? 

     So, tell the truth: I’ll bet you never thought of that politician/toddler analogy.  (Or maybe you have?)  Well, it might be a good idea to think about it in the next few weeks; we are after all, in that overlap season.  Baseball.  Football.  Halloween.  Elections.  Back-to-school.  Elections.  Back-to-school?  Elections . . . Hmmmm.  “Reality” stories and lives like yours and mine certainly can’t afford to have any toddler running the country now, can we?  See that?  Writing and book categories can come in handy.          halalpiar  ______________________________________________________________

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  1. toddler running shoes | b2b shoeson 25 Sep 2008 at 9:38 am

    […] MYSTERY VS. SUSPENSE Back-to-school? Elections . . . Hmmmm. “Reality” stories and lives like yours and mine certainly can’t afford to have any toddler running the country now, can we? See that? Writing and book categories can come in handy. halalpiar …Hal Alpiar’s Blog – […]

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