Catching a Killer

I did join Mystery Writers of America. Just an affiliate membership (until I achieve fame and fortune), but now I receive the group’s newsletter. It has proved interesting and helpful so far. In the issue I just received yesterday, it had a nice long piece on ways for fictional detectives to catch fictional killers. Fifty of them, in fact. Of course, at a basic level, there is nothing new under the sun, so these were not exactly original ideas. Rather, they were meant to jog writers’ creativity into combining them and/or tweaking them in original ways. But not a single one of these suggestions was the one I see utilized all too often:

Let your detective walk blindly into the killer’s obvious trap, then let your detective be so surprised by the killer’s identity that the killer must then explain exactly how and why he or she committed the murder. If you are feeling “edgy,” you may choose *not* to let your detective be rescued by his or her hunky cop boyfriend.

I hereby promise that if I ever am found guilty of seriously employing this method, edgily or not, I will turn in my MWA membership card and go back to school for an MBA or something equally soul-crushingly boring.

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