After last week’s deep dive into The Spare Man we’re ready to talk more generally about mysteries, and the tools we use to write them. Obviously we can’t cover all of that in just one episode, but don’t worry. In upcoming episodes we’ll explore more of these tools in detail.
Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 23:11 — 16.9MB)
Give yourself some context for the upcoming episodes. Read a mystery!
The Glass Onion (Netflix)
Your Hosts: Dan Wells, C.L. Polk, Charlotte Forfieh, and Mary Robinette Kowal
Our third M.I.C.E. Quotient episode asks about the “Inquiry” element, and the ways in which we can use this element to structure our stories—whether we’re writing murder mysteries, thrillers, or anything else in which the turning of pages asks and eventually answers questions.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 22:01 — 16.0MB)
Use the same fairy tale as last week, and strip out every element that is not Inquiry.
Even Though I Knew the End, by C.L. Polk (a noir fantasy novella available in 2022)
Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard
Sherlock Holmes has his Watson for a reason. Readers need a character to whom some things must be explained. In this episode we talk about how we create these gateway characters without delivering “maid and butler” dialog, or talking down to the reader.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 17:50 — 12.3MB)
Pick something you haven’t read or watched before. Perhaps something you wouldn’t otherwise consume. Watch the first five minutes (or read the first five pages) with a note card at the ready. Write down the questions you have about the story. Then finish watching/reading, and see how (or if!) those questions were answered.
Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Amal
Many of us write characters who know more than we know, and/or who think faster than we do. Writing those characters is tricky. In this episode we talk about our own tricks, and the tricks we’ve seen others use.
Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 25:34 — 17.6MB)
Time is your friend. Write a solution to one of your characters’ problems off the top of your head. Spend a week thinking about it and researching it. During that week write down all the new solutions that come to you. Compile the entire set of solutions and review them to see just how good a friend time can be.