Roller Coasters and Fun Houses

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.


3 thoughts on “Roller Coasters and Fun Houses

  1. what about both?

    It could be a mystery-thriller

    Could the roller coaster parts be the high-tension and fast-moving parts and the funhouse be the parts where you [ and the reader] take a ‘breather’ and take a closer look at what’s going on? and the red herrings or whatever could be the distortions of things/ interpretations/clues like in a funhouse mirror.

    Hhmm — you’re giving me an idea for another book — now to go find some characters =)

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