Monday, June 20, 2011

Strong Motivation

(Answer to the question from last Friday's post: If you look straight at the person interviewing you that is a sign of confidence.)

Mystery Monday

I attended Richard Marx's concert Saturday night. It was amazing. In the concert, he said he always liked mystery stories and decided he wanted to write one in the form of a song. He worked and worked on it and nearly gave up, but decided to finished it. He thought it was one of the worst songs he'd ever written. His wife heard it and told him she thought it would turn into one of his best selling songs. He didn't agree, but to show his wife that she was wrong, he went ahead and produced it. 

Lo and behold, four months later his mystery song titled Hazard was climbing the charts in many countries.

He said he found it difficult to write a mystery because he couldn't decide who the villain was. Take a look at his video and see if you know who it is. There's motivation here. Strong motivation.

I love that there's a river involved. It made me think of my new novel, River Whispers. There's something about rivers . . .

So, do you think the main character killed Mary? I mean, he had a pretty rough childhood. Everyone in town thought the boy "wasn't right." 

But, what about the sheriff? He looks kind of shady.

And who is Mary talking to at the end?"

Marx did an excellent job of layering this song with motivation. I have a feeling if that "song thing" doesn't work out he might think of writing mysteries?  

However, to keep readers satisfied at the end of a mystery novel the writer should reveal who the villain is and that villain needs to have strong motivation for committing the crime. 

In mystery stories your villain needs to have very strong motivation to have committed the crime. This adds to the suspense. To shore up that motivation you need back story. You need to know what made this person who they are and why?

How do you layer the villain in your story with strong motivation?


  1. Ha, this is great. Good advice too. It's funny how the artist often can't see the value in their creation. They get too close to it, I think.

  2. Lynda,
    I think you're right. Artists and writers can become too close to their work and not see the value. I just received my wip back from beta readers and they both thought this new book was the best. I didn't think it was because I had to get rid of some of my favorite scenes due to word length. Oh boy. You never know. :/

  3. Interesting post. In Ripper, My Love I have two people I have had to give a layered background. They both had to have emotional motivation to justify their deeds. I started out with one character but the other seemed to want to join in. It was not easy finding two different motivations but I did in the end.

    Enjoy your week, Kathi.

  4. Glynis,
    Aren't some characters more demanding than others? :) I know what you mean. Motivation helps add context to the story in so many ways.

    Thanks for stopping by Glynis!



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