I’ve been compiling a list of FAQs, as you know, and one of the most frequently asked is some variation of: why mysteries? The easiest answer, the one that’s going to go on the FAQ section, is that the AUT reboot made a lot of sense as a mystery and basically it was less a conscious decision to write a mystery and more a, “Hey, that’s interesting. Let’s see how this works.” It worked well, and I had fun doing it, which is why MB is also a mystery. And why GR will have mysterious elements, and why SM will be a mystery, too.
The longer answer is that I really sympathize with the investigator’s dilemma, the need to make what you know square up with what you need to know or what there is to know. I just like to know stuff. I don’t like surprises or secrets, and I don’t really like keeping them, either. You really have no idea how hard it is for me not to post my cover or just tell you everything I’m thinking about GR on a daily basis.
Anyway, more than telling, I like knowing. This is one of the reasons that I go to weekly pub trivia even though we almost never win (the other being the company and the atmosphere, although certainly not the convenience!). I don’t care so much about knowing the right answer, I care more about learning the right answer. I like to accumulate knowledge, and that’s what a detective does. I think that might be why I like writing mysteries so much. This is one of the things all of my characters have in common with me, the need to know. For some of them, it’s more voracious and obvious than for others. There’s a line in MB, for instance, where Will says, “I like to know…” and Jacie adds, “Everything? You like to know everything, right?”
I was actually going to abandon this blog post, thinking it didn’t really go anywhere, but then I started watching John Green’s Blog TV show where he was trying to solve ThisIsNotTom.com, which frustrated the CRAP out of me for the longest time because I kept going to ThisIsNotTom.com and NOT BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING and I was like, How is this a riddle website if there’s not even any riddles because I can’t get past the first page ARGGGH! (Hint: Click on the man in the picture’s right eye–your left.)
Anyways, the riddles are SO HARD; I was following along with John and the Nerdfighters in the Blog TV chat, so I let everybody do the work for me, which is the way I like it: being told the answers and marveling over their intricacy, not actually solving them myself. I actually get very little pleasure out of that, or rather I assume I would get very little pleasure out of solving them but there’s no empirical evidence for that as I haven’t really solved many riddles (I’m a skip to the back of the book kind of a person). But the site is so, so great, and the riddles are impressive, once you figure out how to do them.
But I love puzzles and riddles. LOVE THEM. This is why Fish and Em and I play Nancy Drew video games every Christmas. Our impatience, our burning need to know, is usually why we often cheat with walkthroughs, but still!
I realize this post went nowhere. Except to ThisIsNotTom.com.