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Every second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or give you insight on her process as an author.  To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website!  

This week features Shannon’s thoughts on what defines a mystery story.

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So what defines a mystery story? It shouldn’t be a puzzle to solve as to what the definition is.

Merriam-Webster comes up with the definition, “a piece of fiction dealing usually with the solution of a mysterious crime,” but this seems strange to me. In a sense, isn’t mystery being used to define itself by using the adjective versus a noun?

Mysterious, in turn, is described by Merriam-Webster as “exciting wonder, curiosity, or surprise while baffling efforts to comprehend or identify” – which seems to lean on the idea of something not being able to be explained.

Some mysteries do remain unsolved… but most are deduced. So, is this definition accurate?

If anyone has any thoughts on the definition of mystery, I’d love suggestions in the comments. Remember, I do moderate them, so it may take some time to appear.

Until next time,

Shannon