Mystery vs Suspense

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
Edward Pungot
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Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Edward Pungot » March 9th, 2016, 12:44 pm


Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 9th, 2016, 2:28 pm

I suppose you could get some suspense out of letting them see you drop a card down your sleeve during the act and then get some mystery by pulling the card from the other sleeve later on.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Pete McCabe
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Pete McCabe » March 9th, 2016, 5:05 pm

"Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense."
—from "8 Rules for a Good Story" by Kurt Vonnegut

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 9th, 2016, 5:49 pm

Pete McCabe wrote:"Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense."
—from "8 Rules for a Good Story" by Kurt Vonnegut


Sage advice from a guy who wrote the most satisfying mysteries of the twentieth century under the pen name Agatha Christie?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Edward Pungot
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Edward Pungot » March 11th, 2016, 1:50 pm

Here's a clip from America's Got Talent of D. Hughes performing "Homing Card Plus."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKlOohhyn7c

vs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owrdT2VsedQ

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Q. Kumber
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Q. Kumber » March 11th, 2016, 2:36 pm

A good plot is important and will, often enough in a magic trick, hold the attention of the audience, even if the magician is lacking in presentation skills.

However it is how the story/plot/information is revealed that can transform something inherently good into a masterpiece.

Edward Pungot
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Edward Pungot » March 11th, 2016, 3:03 pm

Poo-tee-weet

Ted M
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Ted M » March 11th, 2016, 3:18 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Pete McCabe wrote:"Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense."
—from "8 Rules for a Good Story" by Kurt Vonnegut


Sage advice from a guy who wrote the most satisfying mysteries of the twentieth century under the pen name Agatha Christie?


Er... what?

Pete McCable wrote The Murder of Roger Ackroyd?

Kurt Vonnegut wrote Curtain?

What?

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 11th, 2016, 4:01 pm

I've enjoyed reading some of Kurt Vonnegut's stories though don't recall them as mystery or suspense genre. Quoting him outside his area of expertise seems facetious or perhaps he wrote such things under another pen name?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Bill Mullins
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Bill Mullins » March 11th, 2016, 6:07 pm

A story doesn't have to be in the mystery/suspense genre to have elements of suspense in it. It can be a general component of any style of fiction.

And Vonnegut was a good enough writer that I wouldn't ignore his advice, even if it doesn't seem on-point to whatever it is we think his specialty was.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 11th, 2016, 6:44 pm

Here's what the guy had to say: https://www.writingclasses.com/toolbox/ ... ve-writing

And here's how he closed his comment: " The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.

From the preface to Vonnegut's short story collection Bagombo Snuff Box. "

Here's his first rule: "Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 11th, 2016, 9:11 pm

Okay maybe that was a little bit obtuse. You're presenting something. If the effect comes across and the methodology works they will be perceiving some kind of unlikely or impossible situation. That's if they are looking at the situation in the way you'd like. Getting them to work from your desired perspective is a matter of Rhetoric. As Hitchcock points out there is some amount of emotional buy-in required for suspense and some intellectual buy-in for a mystery ...other than "why did he do that?"... also some significant amount of "fair play" All of that is about ethos/pathos rather than direct appeal to logos ("my hands are empty - see") and needed after they feel there's some reason to watch your procedure - okay maybe they want to see if you really are going to pull a feather bouquet out of your sleeve. Would letting them see you set that in place establish suspense?

Hitchcock was a fine movie director and Vonnegut was a fine writer.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Edward Pungot
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Edward Pungot » March 13th, 2016, 7:27 pm

Image

“Suspense is the prolongation of uncertainty, of a period of waiting that we want to end. The audience has to be perfectly informed of the elements in play. If not, there is no suspense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md6folAgGRU

The audience should always be informed, except when the surprise is a twist, when the unexpected nature of the conclusion is the spice of the anecdote.

Whatever your final choice about the development of the action, you should always choose the path that most effectively maintains the audience’s interest. In short, we might say that the rectangle of the screen should always be charged with emotion.”

-- Alfred Hitchcock [ "Conflicts" Jose Carroll 52 Lovers ]

Pete McCabe
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Re: Mystery vs Suspense

Postby Pete McCabe » March 14th, 2016, 5:27 pm

I was just posting the Vonnegut quote because I thought it provided another perspective on a topic which, I think, depends mostly on perspective. If it got Jonathan to admit that something he wrote was obtuse, that's a bonus.


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