Genre Research Project Mystery

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Dylan Elliott

Mr. Warren

English 11

10/18/10
Genre Research Project Mystery


The genre of mystery is one of many genres that authors use in literature to express countless thoughts and ideas. Genre is a term used to define a book by its specific plot sequence. Some examples of different genres include horror, comedy, romance, satire and mystery. Although these examples are few, there are a multitude of other genres. All genres of literature can then be classified under two groups called fiction and nonfiction. A piece of literature that is fiction is made up and did not actually happen, or it could not happen. Non-fiction is the opposite. Non-fiction literature is possible to actually occur in reality or could be based on true events. The novel Acceleration, by Graham McNamee is a great example of the mystery genre. Throughout the story, the author keeps a great deal of information from the reader therefore creating suspense. This piece of literature was also a good example of the literary techniques an author will use in a mystery novel to make that type of genre irresistible to the reader.

The mystery genre is one of the most interesting genres to read. This is because the plot sequence of the novel is like a game. It is like a puzzle that the reader will try to solve before reading the answer, or lack of an answer, at the end of a mystery novel. Also, since the mystery genre has a large amount of suspense, the reader will be on the edge of their seat for most of the story. (Creating Suspense – Explore Writing (UK)). Usually a mystery genre will start off with a scene where there is either a conflict or an occurrence that introduces a conflict. The characters and the reader will not know many details about the conflict which causes the reader to question the plot and think about the possibilities of the plot. A mystery genre will then open the reader up to little bits of information at a time through the plot sequence. This will allow the reader to put together pieces of the story like a puzzle and try to figure out what is happening. Finally, at the conclusion of a mystery genre, the author will usually end the novel with the unclear conflict becoming clear. This type of literature style is very popular due to the emotional state it creates for the reader. (Mystery Fiction – Wikipedia).

When opening a piece of literature, an author wants to get the reader hooked as soon as possible. In achieving this, the reader will then continue to read the piece of literature. All elements that contribute to the appealing nature of any piece of literature can be classified as literary techniques, or literary elements. A literary technique is a common characteristic about the writing structure of a piece of literature, or multiple pieces of literature, all aimed to achieve an emotional result for the reader. Some examples of literary techniques are characterization, theme, conflict and plot but literary techniques are not limited to these examples. (Literary technique – Wikipedia). For different genres, authors will use literary techniques in different ways and in different magnitudes. Also, the aim of the effect of a specific literary element will be different in varied genres. For the mystery genre, the main goal for the author is to leave the reader with unanswered questions. The literary technique recipe to achieve this goal is simply to be unclear about many descriptions of people and events. In doing this, the author will force the reader to think about what will happen next and keep reading, especially if the positive mood of the literature is being compromised. (Suspense – Wikipedia).

The mixture of literary elements and the magnitude of their usage define the genre of a piece of literature. Once again, genre is a concept that classifies art by the mood that it expresses or what type of story it expresses. Genre is mainly used to classify music, film and literature, but is used to classify other forms of art as well. (Genre – Wikipedia). Also, the genre of art is not solid, it can change and transform throughout the story that is being portrayed. Sometimes in doing so, this creates a new genre. For example, a romance movie with comedy in it is under the genre of “romantic comedy”. Since a genre is not a set of rules that cannot change, many new types of genres can be invented through a new combination of other genres. In a piece of literature, the author must pick and choose literary elements wisely to best portray the intended genre. For the mystery genre, an author will use suspense in almost every chapter. This is what makes that type of genre a “mystery”. (Newingham, Beth – Exploring the Mystery Genre). Even if new suspense is not created in a new chapter, old suspense might still not be answered therefore having the same effect on the reader. In the novel, Acceleration, Graham McNamee gave the reader just enough information to come up with a hypothesis of future events but not enough information to be sure about the specific hypothesis. This is an example of how authors will use foreshadowing in their literature. For example, when the main character, Duncan, found the leather scrap book of a murderer he later named “roach”, the reader was aware that there was indeed a killer, but the fact that the killer was still alive or if he had already done the intended crime was still unknown. This situation of suspense, along with many others, is what defines this piece of literature under the mystery genre.

When an author writes a book, one of their main goals is to make the book intriguing to the reader. Acceleration opens by characterizing Duncan and connecting the reader with him. Not too far into the book, the author introduces the scene where Duncan finds the leather book that belonged to the murderer. This puts the reader in a situation where they must think about the possibilities that could occur from this new unfinished situation. As an effect, the reader will realize that the answer hopefully lies further within the text of the book and therefore, continue to read instead of putting the book down, due to lack of interest. (How to Hook your Reader). This is a great example of how an author will “hook” a reader and “reel” them in. Since Graham McNamee introduces a large amount of suspense and foreshadowing early on in the book, the reader will want to read right to the end of the book immediately upon starting it. This creates both spiritual and economic improvements for the author as well. The quicker it takes to attract readers, the quicker the readers will finish a specific author’s book. Then, because of the author’s new and improved reputation, the same readers will read other literature form the same author. This increases the author’s reputation and wealth further and further. The source of this improvement links back to the author’s use of the literary elements.

The characters within a novel also contribute to the attractiveness of the literature. This is done by the author’s use of characterization which is also a literary element. Characterization is a term used for the methods an author will use to describe a character. (Characterization – Wikipedia). An author uses direct characterization when characterizing a character directly. This means that the author will describe what the character looks like and what his or her personality traits are. This method is clearer than indirect characterization which is where an author characterizes a character through their thoughts and actions. Since Acceleration is in first person, Duncan does not directly characterize himself but rather does it indirectly. All of the other characters in the novel are directly characterized by Duncan. The fact that Duncan is not characterized directly adds even more suspense to the novel which makes the reader want to read further into the literature. Duncan’s personality was very sarcastic, which added some comedy to the story. When a character in literature is funny and their personality attracts the reader, the reader will want to read the book. Through the use of characterization, an author can create an attractive character and the reader will be able to relate to the character and enjoy the story more. (The Art of Character Development).

Another reason that a reader will enjoy a book is if they can relate to it and if the author can persuade them. A persuasive piece of literature will have a greater emotional impact on a reader. Even though Acceleration is a fiction novel, Graham McNamee creates a story that could actually happen in real life. The book expresses the fact that a troubled murderer could be anywhere, which makes the reader enter the mind of the main character. (What makes a character in a story realistic? – Yahoo Answers). This causes the reader to have a slight sense of fear and makes the reader want to come back to the book again and again in order to experience that artificial fear once. If a reader can relate to a realistic story, the emotional effects on a reader become even greater. For example, someone who hasn’t experienced a death in their family will not be as emotionally affected from a plot sequence like that in a piece of literature. Someone who actually has experienced a death in their family will be more emotionally affected. This is because the less affected reader does not know what it feels like and therefore cannot relate to the plot as well as a reader who has had a death in their family. The relation of the reader to the plot of a story is a key function in controlling the emotional state of the reader. A successful author will recognize and master this. (Author Research for Creative Writing - Character and Setting for Novel Writers).

The theme expressed in Acceleration contributed to the ability of the reader to relate to the book. A theme is the main idea or lesson learned in a piece of literature that is expressed through the plot sequence and the literary elements used in the literature. This novel gave the idea that any human being can be a hero to the public or to themselves and stressed the idea that everyone deserves a second chance. In the novel by McNamee, Duncan tried to save a drowning girl earlier in his life but failed to save her. This caused him to question why he couldn’t save her and it caused him to be emotionally troubled. The fact that Duncan could not be a hero and save the girl would not leave his conscience throughout the entire novel. Finally when Duncan saved the innocent women from the murderer, he was uplifted because he actually succeeded in saving someone. This is the point when Duncan becomes a hero to himself after getting the second chance. This plot sequence directly expressed that everyone can be a hero and everyone deserves a second chance.

Fiction and truth, although both are opposites by definition, are related in terms of literature. In general, fiction is something that is made up and a truth is something that is real. (WikiAnswers - What is the relationship between fiction and truth). Literature can transform this definition. In literature, a truth can be portrayed through fiction just as it can be portrayed through a truthful or nonfiction piece of literature. Although a fiction piece is not necessarily real, the truths that it will teach to the reader using literary elements like theme can be applied to real life situations, which will make those specific truths real. Truths are not always positive. Since fiction can be invented, it can be tampered with to satisfy a reader’s desire. A fiction could have a perfect setting with perfect characters, but still portray a theme that expresses a negative truth. It could also be the other way around. The fiction could be negative and express a positive truth. The plot sequence of Acceleration was fairly normal, but eventually gave off a negative vibe and was rarely very positive. The truth expressed in this novel was the idea that everyone can be a hero and that everyone deserves a second chance. This positive theme was the opposite of the mood of the story. (Truth Vs Fiction - Disturbed Stranger).

Specific truths are expressed through specific genres. Depending on the genre, the truth of a piece of literature will be related to the plot sequence of the story. (Finding Your Themes – Holly Lisle). In Acceleration, a truth that was stressed was that everyone deserves a second chance. Even though Acceleration was a fiction, the truths that it can display can be applied to real life situations. Usually, most truths in a piece of literature will be explained through the theme. Since fiction books express themes, they can express truths that occur in the real world. This is because a fiction can express realistic examples that did not actually have to happen in real life. In Acceleration, when Duncan failed to save the girl from drowning, he also failed to be a hero which made him slightly emotionally corrupt. The idea that everyone deserves a second chance applies to the story because Duncan eventually stopped the murderer from killing innocent people and upon doing so, he became a hero. The term “hero” only applies to Duncan’s conscience, because he does not tell anyone that the man was a murderer at the conclusion of the story. In doing this, he only solves the internal conflict occurring within him. (Writing: What exactly is a theme of a story, and how can I recognize it?).

When an author ends a story, their goal is to satisfy the reader. This makes the reader glad that they had read the book and. Sometimes an author will use a different method in order to persuade the reader to read another book by that author. In order to achieve this, authors will sometimes end a story with unfinished questions that the reader wanted to know. An example of a popular story ending used today is when the negative force in a story is defeated and all the questions seem to have been answered. Then with the story nearly done, one more event occurs that introduces many more questions and then the story will end without answering them. This method of ending a story is very effective because the reader will want to come back to another book by the same author in order to get their new questions answered. Usually in the mystery genre, it is very easy to end the story with unanswered questions and therefore, the mystery genre is very popular. (10 Ways to Write a Good Story | Writinghood).

The novel Acceleration, by Graham McNamee, was a very good example of the mystery genre. The plot sequence was a stereotype mystery, filled with suspense. Genre is the classification of art by its type of story it expresses. Every genre has a recipe of literary elements that are used with different purposes. One purpose that is similar to all genres is an author’s ability to control the emotional effect on a reader and attract them to the literature. This depends on the reader’s preference for entertainment or knowledge as well. Through the novel Acceleration, the genre of mystery was defined by the nature of the novels suspenseful plot sequence.



Works cited
"10 Ways to Write a Good Story | Writinghood." Writinghood | Everything about Blogging, Online Writing, Online Publishing, Creative Writing and Writing Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .
"Acceleration, Reader's Circle Series, Graham McNamee, Book - Barnes & Noble." Barnes & Noble.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Acceleration/Graham-McNamee/e/9780440238362>. I chose this website because it showed reviews from average people who read the book.

"Acceleration Review at Young Adult Books Central by Lorne Lo." Young Adult (& Kids!) Books Central - Connecting teen, tween and child readers with their favorite books and authors since 1998!. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://yabookscentral.com/cfusion/index.cfm?fuseAction=books.review&review_id=5846>. I didn't choose this article because it had little information to support what it had said.


"Author Research for Creative Writing: Information Resources – Character and Setting for Novel Writers ." Writing Techniques. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. http://research-writing-techniques.suite101.com/article.cfm/author_research_for_creative_writing.

"Characterisation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"Creating Suspense - Explore Writing (UK)." How to Write Almost Anything at Explore Writing (UK). N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"Finding Your Themes." Holly Lisle--Official Author Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"Genre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .


"Graham McNamee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_McNamee>. I chose this article bacause it gave me good information about the author.

"Guide to the Mystery & Detective & Crime Genre of Literature - TeacherVision.com." Teacher Lesson Plans, Printables & Worksheets by Grade or Subject - TeacherVision.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://www.teachervision.fen.com/mysteries/teacher-guide/62809.html>.I chose this article because it is a guide to the different types of mystery literature.

"How To Hook Your Reader." EzineArticles Submission - Submit Your Best Quality Original Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .
"Literary technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2010. .
Marble, Anne. "Foreshadowing and Suspense." Welcome to Writing-World.com!. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"McNamee, Graham. Acceleration - Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review | Kliatt | Find Articles at BNET." Find Articles at BNET | News Articles, Magazine Back Issues & Reference Articles on All Topics. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PBX/is_1_38/ai_112247037/>. I didn't choose this article because it did not give me any valuable information

"Mystery fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_fiction>. I chose this article because it defines the term; mystery.

Newingham, Beth. "Exploring the Mystery Genre | Scholastic.com." Teaching Resources, Children's Book Recommendations, and Student Activities | Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/unitplan.jsp?id=241.


Newingham, Beth. "Ingredients of a Mystery | Scholastic.com." Teaching Resources, Children's Book Recommendations, and Student Activities | Scholastic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=660>.I chose this article because it gives the elements of a mystery novel.
"Suspense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .
"Teenreads.com -- ACCELERATION by Graham McNamee." Teenreads.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://www.teenreads.com/reviews/0385731191.asp>. I chose this article because it discussed the main idea of the book, acceleration.

"The Art of Character Development." Full Circle - Wednesday, May 21, 2008. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"The Open Critic » Book Review » Acceleration, by Graham McNamee." The Open Critic . N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010. <http://theopencritic.com/?p=188>. I chose this article because it gave me valuable information on reviews about the book from other readers.

"Truth Vs Fiction « Disturbed Stranger." Disturbed Stranger. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2010. .

"What makes a character in a story realistic? Relatable? - Yahoo! Answers." Yahoo! Answers - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

"WikiAnswers - What is the relationship between fiction and truth." WikiAnswers - The Q&A wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2010. .
" Writing: What exactly is a theme of a story, and how can I recognize it? - CliffsNotes ." Get Homework Help with CliffsNotes Study Guides - CliffsNotes . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .

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