The flaws were in the protagonist negative goalantagonist confused motivationthe conflict intermittentand the plot wandered all over the place. A beta read by Toni Causey finally made me see the light:
I love whodunits, but the books I borrow often end up being "howdunits" or "whodunwhats" instead.
The Howdunit A "howdunit" is a story about a detective who spends an excessive amount of time unraveling and then explaining the technicalities of a crime.
The crime is seemingly impossible, and the villain uses complicated tricks to carry it out and conceal the evidence. People who write howdunits today might be trying to emulate classic authors of detective fiction, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.
People love those stories because they love the heroes. When something shocking happens in real life, people first ask, What happened? They want to know who was hurt, who was responsible, when it happened, and where. Then they skip straight to, Why? Why did he do that? What on earth was he thinking?
Why would someone so normal do something so cruel? This summer a security guard in my town was arrested for murder. He told his wife he was driving late at night when he struck a young woman in the street. He panicked, drove her to a dry canyon, and dumped her there to die.
Why was his first thought to get rid of her, not to help her? What was wrong with him? And of course people cared about the poor woman.
They cared about her boyfriend, who ran around all night looking for her. Readers think the same way about fictional crime. They care about the people involved, not about the technicalities.
Who is this person? Can she be trusted? Does she have morals fragile enough, or a personality weak enough, or a temper volatile enough, to be capable of premeditated murder? The story is about the man or woman who kills someone and why, and about the courageous detective who uncovers the truth.
The Whodunwhat A "whodunwhat" is a story about a detective who solves an excessive number of interconnected crimes at a breathless pace.
The master of the mansion died in his bedroom at 7 pm. His estranged wife lied that they were together to cover up the humiliating fact that he was actually in bed with the studly gardener.
The cook lied that the butler was eating supper at the time because the butler had caught her pilfering the silverware, and he threatened to report her to the police if she told them he was really taking tea to the master and his lover.
When I wrote the list above I intended it to be a humorous exaggeration. Recently I read a novel about a heroine who was supposedly searching for her missing friend, a fashion designer.
Then she started zipping so quickly from corporate espionage to real-estate scams to university sex scandals that I lost track of which crime she was trying to solve. The writer might have thought this book would be exciting because it was so fast-paced, but the result was very dry.
None of the scenes had emotional weight. How could they, when the characters talked of nothing but French embezzlers and Irish mobsters?Letter of recommendation power phrases are key to writing an effective recommendation letter or reference letter.
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