In the first video segment, Smith discusses the definition of a Mystery Genre by separating the different aspects of mystery into subgenres. There are the cozies, serial killer books, suspense, and classic mysteries. Smith says that’s cozies are mysteries devoid of onstage violence and sex. For example, in a cozy the protagonist would be a cat or a British housekeeper and also the crime solver. In serial killer books, everyone dies in a very gruesome and graphic way.
Classic mysteries the reader asks the question of, what just happened? While suspense thrillers the reader asks, what is going to happen next? Smith goes onto explain that suspense uses multiple points of view and that the protagonist and antagonist were on a collision course from the start and the reader already knows it.
In the second video segment, Smith talks about the five elements for a mystery genre and how each of them is used to make a good story. The first element mentioned is the inclusion of high stakes; Smith says that there is a misperception of high stakes and it doesn’t have to be life or death. He says to make characters that people care about and whatever is important to that character the reader will care about it too. The next element is larger than life characters; Smith says to, “Amp it up.”
If you change different aspects of a characters life then the stakes will go up immensely. High concept of character, conflict, and conclusion; by having one line that describes the plot with character, conflict, and conclusion the concept will be good. Smith says having multiple points of view lets the reader to be emotionally involved with more than one character at a time and it also allows the writer to build suspense more effectively.
The setting needs to be exotic and interesting and exotic doesn’t necessarily mean a foreign country but it could be a place of business. Anywhere that will take the reader somewhere they’ve never been before.