So, for today's exercise, I'm analyzing how to apply my favorite mystery show, Castle, to writing a mystery.
Rick Castle is a mega bestselling author, who not only has connections with the mayor and members of the hoi polloi, but also likes using real life material in his mysteries. To that end, he convinces the mayor to allow him to tag along on cases with a female detective named Beckett.
Though this is a TV program, there's much to learn and apply to writing.
- Through watching Castle, I live vicariously as a bestselling author, and hope I'll become one some day. Not every person watching the show is an author, but the glamor and notoriety Castle enjoys has a certain appeal to audiences. Readers live vicariously and many like to pretend they're famous, so you may wish to include a larger than life main character in your mystery.
- I love romantic elements in stories, so I enjoy the give and take romance between Castle and Beckett. Love makes the world go round, so an author can't go wrong by including some kind of romantic element in a mystery.
- Each episode also includes something about his family life, and that makes Castle a more rounded character. When writing, don't forget to mention the families of any main characters, and how they relate.
- The secondary characters at the precinct and also in Castle's home are unique and interesting. It's a good idea to make each character unique in your book, so the reader can tell them apart. If you're aiming to write a series, secondary characters are even more important.
- Castle is self-assured, sometimes cocky, but has soft spots. It's okay if your main character has some flaws, as long as you also include evidence of the hero or heroine's worthiness.
- Of course, the show does include a dead body or more, and Castle and Beckett use great deductive skills to solve the mystery of how and why the person(s) died. Though I'm not an expert, for the most part, what they do and say seems to makes sense and follow protocol. It's important when we construct and unravel our mystery to also make sense, so be sure to do enough research.
- Okay, I did find what I considered a flaw in one of the episodes. It got to me, although others may not have cared. When Castle and Beckett were locked in this freezing cold storage place, they huddle up with each other. That makes sense. However, when all seemed lost, I saw her cold hands reaching out to clutch his jacket. My immediate thought was, why did she place her hands on top, and not under his jacket, or at least why didn't they hold hands for more body warmth? I suppose the director wanted the scene to be dramatic, but I also wondered why she didn't keep her hands inside her own clothes somewhere. I couldn't tell if she had pockets, which would have been the logical place to keep her hands warm. Another reason to use common sense. Make sure your characters not only make sense when solving a crime, but also in other thoughts and actions.
So, that's how I've dissected the Castle shows I've watched so far. I've still got about 40 left on my DVR to view.
What about you? Do you watch Castle? Or, what particular mystery show resonates for you?
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