If you’re considering a career change to become the protagonist in a mystery novel, I have several crucial pieces of advice for you to embrace to ensure your success. The main goal that you must adhere to around the clock, is a dedication to continual suspense-building. My advice, as well as the many perks, to Hero Employment follows. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
#1 Keep information to yourself. No matter how enticing or logical it is to ask for help or let other people in on the mystery at hand, never reveal what you’re really thinking or any clues that you’ve found. You might solve the mystery that way and solve untold harm and misfortune. However, you wouldn’t want that: it doesn’t build suspense.
#2 Chase scenes. Make sure that when you see the person that you want to apprehend up ahead, yell at them nice and loud to ensure that they see you coming, get a head start, and can run away from you. They always will, and then you will be able to have an exciting chase scene. Here is one of the many perks to you future hero job: there will be no fence you cannot climb, no window you cannot lower yourself out of, no heap of garbage you cannot leap over, no window you cannot crash out of without a scratch (except perhaps a scratch on your face that will give you a more hardened and smoldering look). Most of the bad guys you chase will end up running directly into the street, never running parallel to the deadly, oncoming vehicles. However, for you, any car that might be a danger to you, it will merely bump into you causing you to bounce right off or go sliding across the hood executing a perfect landing on the other side. If the miscreant gets too far ahead of you, just turn down the next adjacent alley: it will always lead directly to where the bad guy will decide to come bounding out.
#3 Suspense at any cost. When someone has something dangerous, crucial and pivotal to reveal to you, interrupt them a lot so they can’t say it. Especially –I cannot emphasize this enough– if they are on their death bed. You could also kiss them, or encourage them by any other means to give you as many useless details and pauses as possible so that they are unable to utter who your dad really is, where the gold is hidden, or who has been behind the murders all along. That way, the sniper that is surely in the background will have plenty of time to shoot them, thus building more suspense.
#4 Omniscient readers. Be aware that try as you might to conceal who the real bad guy is, your readers will always guess who the villain is. Even when it’s impossible, you will have people saying, “I knew it was her all along.” Don’t get discouraged, the reality is that someone in the novel really does have to be the bad guy. So just have fun with it!
#5 Guarding people. You will often have someone in the story whom you will need to guard, especially someone who has a particular knack for getting into trouble. When you need to take a call, go to the bathroom, or check on some other thing that piques your curiosity, be sure to leave that trouble maker all alone. Don’t even peek on them! They will consistently get into trouble and therefore will give you even more suspense.
#6 Side character high death rate. This is often a jest on late night TV or in movies, but I do need to warn you of this actual fact. If you are considering a side role instead of Hero Employment, please be aware that any side character, especially a sort of lovable one, that has a reasonably minimal role, will probably be taken out first and fast.
#7 Don’t worry about a thing. This really is a good gig – thoroughly enjoy it. When you’re up against a wall, the answer will walk around the corner. You’ll always get the inheritance from a long lost aunt. You’ll be able to walk into the villain’s lair without him ever knowing you are there defying all known laws of physics. They will never look in the closet or the pile where you’re hiding, nor look up when you’ve suspended yourself against the ceiling. When you need an answer or another clue, there will be a knock at the door. You will no longer have to deal with any real illnesses unless it’s life-threatening or just a sniffle. You will never have to actually go to the bathroom or attend to other mere human necessities. Your hunches will always be right, you will never misinterpret clues, and in the end… everything will turn out all right.
Happy job hunting!
Now tell me your favorite cliches and Scooby Doo-worthy debacles that heroes often face! I want to hear ’em! My other favorite: the slightly opened front door. Because, y’know, the criminals always leave the door ajar to let you know someone’s in there. 😉