Featuring mysteries and genres born out of the classic pulp era – interviews and more on mystery/suspense/romantic suspense/thriller/crime on Mon-Thurs and SF & Fantasy Fridays with author and Sisters in Crime member Shannon Muir, whose personal columns appear on weekends.
Every Sunday, the feature SHANNON MUIR’S MYSTERY OF CHARACTER on SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF focuses on the art and craft of writing from Shannon’s perspective, or gives you insight on her process as an author.This week’s topic continues on how character arcs can flow over the three act structure as commonly used in film, including mystery and crime film.
Usually my columns talk about prose writing, but I also have background in scriptwriting, with some produced credits in animation.
This got me to think about how character development can evolve different for mystery and crime films, which are broken down traditionally into three act structures. So, for the next three columns, I’m going to share my thoughts in character development in film as it pertains to mysteries and crime over a series of three columns, each corresponding to an act.
This time around, the focus is on Act Two.
Act Two focuses on the obstacles, and what gets in the character’s way. In the mystery and crime genre, this generally is discovering who did it (the murder or whatever crime it is). How the character responds to the conflicts and issues thrown in the way is key to further development. Since we can’t get in the character’s head easily, most of this needs to be conveyed through tone of voice, and body language, especially when a character doesn’t always mean what is said.
Next time, we take a look at Act Three as we wrap up this series on character in film.