In the midst of all the plotting and pondering about the process of the various works in progress (and its glacial-paced forward momentum), there hasn’t been (that) much discussion of the genres in which the stories are set, aside from the entries revolving around the Game of Genres (it’d be fun to write about that someday – personifying genres in a quasi- Game of Thrones narrative arc…)
And there goes another plot bunny carrying another brilliant idea to add to the list of Other Tales to Tell.
The primary genre for the MASC Chronicles has been in Mystery, with sprinklings of fantasy and science fiction mixed in with a sort of Steampunk twist. I’ve always been an avid mystery reader and recently dipped my literary toe into reading fantasy and science fiction (some of which have had Steampunk elements). I enjoy reading mainly Golden Era cozy mysteries – mystery stories written in the early 20th Century by British authors which were usually set in rural locales and focused more on the investigation of the crime and less on the gritty violence of the crime itself. Most of these stories had as its protagonist a private detective, reliable associates to assist in the investigation, and law enforcement officers who have a begrudging yet respectful working relationship with the private detective.
It’s a formula that has worked for decades and one I attempt to emulate, though with some tweaks and twists with the inclusion of the aforementioned genres.
In creating a mystery tale there are a myriad of hidden elements to consider and a multitude of angles to outline to ensure plausibility in its narrative structure and the pacing of the action before the crimes takes place, and the investigation afterwards. Some tales start with the crime occurring “off stage” and it’s through the investigation where details of the events beforehand are pieced together. Other stories let the reader glimpse into the lives of the characters before the crime so that there is a level of emotional connection already established by the time the crime occurs. The denouement when the guilty party is revealed is often when the story ends – rarely does the narrative continue beyond that point, though there are times when the legal procedure is integral to the overall narrative.
One aspect of the story that is never really touched upon (at least to my knowledge and based on the various mystery novels I’ve read over the years) is the lives of the characters long after the criminal is apprehended and how they cope with the effects of the crime. Mystery novels are mainly stand-alone stories, and while sometimes the protagonists might reference something from a previous case, more times than not, the characters that are not the main protagonists are never heard from again.
It is my intention to fill that void with my (humble) attempt to craft a series saga that shows the consequences of the actions taken in the past / present and its effects in the (near and far) future.
I’m not quite sure if it can work (or if I’ve explained it as clearly as I hoped, but it’s still a daunting (and exciting) task to attempt to undertake. It involves a LOT of plotting and pondering exposition and character development, and perhaps some complex org chart making.
I might need to invest in a whiteboard and colorful markers to keep track of the timelines and its causes and effects.