Funny what inspires us as writers. Back in December, 2012, I posted about how my many years of watching soap operas influenced my writing. Apparently, growing up in the golden age of television had an effect on me. However, I wasn’t just watching soap operas. I watched detective shows too.
As a teenager and young adult, I loved Columbo and the original Hawaii Five-O. Both were well written. There were no overtly graphic images. No bodies laid out on the autopsy table. No gory, mutilated or half burned corpses, unlike today’s detective shows. Good writing certainly doesn’t need that kind of visual imagery. Facial expressions, or comments made by other characters will tell us what we need to know. Our imaginations can do the rest.
The late Peter Falk’s portrayal of the bumbling title character made Columbo great. So were all the bad guys who thought they could outsmart him. What made the show fun was the way Lt. Columbo would seize on an obscure, overlooked detail that even surprised the audience. Hawaii Five-O offered spectacular scenery and well thought out plot lines. The characters may not have been as well developed as Lt. Columbo. However, there was one unforgettable nemeses. Wo Fat. Kudos to the script writers of both.
Crime stories create conflict and great drama. It’s why I include crime subplots in my novels. Whether it’s Gillian’s murderous ex-husband on a rampage in The Reunion, Scott’s jilted wife’s in The Deception, or the revenge seeking Denise wreaking havoc in The Journey, these crime subplots create the tension, and the drama. And, as a result, the readers keep turning the pages. Look for more in my next novel, The Betrayal. Until then, happy reading.