I’m reading Carolyn Wheat’s How to Write Killer Fiction, which looks like a pretty good book so far. She talks about the difference between mystery and suspense right at the beginning of the book. She says a mystery is like “entering a funhouse. The reader wants to be puzzled, to be uneasily aware that things are not what they seem, to see the world through a distorting lens, to follow along as the detective separates truth from illusion.”
The suspense novel, on the other hand, is like a roller coaster ride. “Riding the roller coaster of suspense, the reader looks forward to being hurtle through a fast-moving set of events that leaves him breathless, feeling emotions that rocket to the sky and plunge to the depths in a matter of seconds as a hero confronts her greatest fears.”
So what is my YA??? Am I offering readers a “roller coaster ride through danger” (i.e. a suspense novel) or “a trip through the funhouse” (i.e. a mystery novel)??? I prefer to READ the “roller coaster ride through danger,” but if I look at what I’ve done so far and where I’m going, this YA novel is more of a “trip through the funhouse.”
I wonder if I should try and turn it into a “roller coaster ride through danger?” I could do it…especially at this point when I haven’t done all that much on it yet.