The Shock, The Horror

March 30th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have just learned something awful…almost too awful to share. We cannot bring ourself to type the horrible words, so will let John Rickards do the dirty work for us:

Crime is very formulaic, it’s true. Like any genre, it has its conventions, which more or less have to be obeyed to satisfy the reader. Firstly, for instance, there has to be a crime of some sort. At the end, you also need to have explained something of what happened, how and why, otherwise it feels horribly unresolved. And generally you have three different perspectives to tell your crime story from – the investigator, the criminal or the victim.

But within those constraints you can have an awful lot of fun. For example, maybe there wasn’t a crime, only the appearance of one or a mistaken belief about one that then leads to other events – Rear Window, if you like. You can get away with minimal explanation if it leaves the reader thinking about what might have been or coming up with their own explanation, or just marvelling at the cleverness of what you have revealed – think of The Usual Suspects for the latter, or (although it’s not crime), Donnie Darko for the former. And then with the third restraint, perspective, you can mix and match, or combine things so, say, the investigator is the victim, or the criminal is the investigator, or whatever.

You were warned, yet you kept reading? Good for you. Here, on the other side, it doesn’t seem to bad does it. Formulaic but fun. Sort of like sex. (Via Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind)

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