This week: Mysteries of 2020Edited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
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Quote for the week: "Whatever hysteria exists is inflamed by mystery, suspicion and secrecy. Hard and exact facts will cool it."
Whatever we think of 2020, nobody could ever say it has been a boring year! While many of us would like to forget this year ever happened, some of the events would make a great backdrop or subject for a mystery story.
It is beyond the scope of this newsletter to discuss all the impacts of the Covid pandemic, but it has effected all of our lives in some way. Even when the pandemic is over, the effects are likely to be felt for years to come, even for those lucky enough never to have contracted the disease or know anyone who did. How do you think the changes resulting from the pandemic might affect the lives of your characters in any story set in the present or near future? Here are some examples:
Widespread wearing of masks might make witness identification of criminals more difficult, but it also might make it easier for your protagonist to hide from a stalker or other villain.
Travel restrictions might make it more difficult for a criminal to flee the country, but also might make it harder for a victim to escape from the criminal.
Lockdowns and business closures
Crowded restaurants and bars have always been a common setting for many activities in mystery stories. They provide a place for characters to meet, for underhanded deals to take place, or for criminals or victims to escape. Currently, however, if bars or restaurants are open at all, they are not likely to be crowded. Characters who could simply escape into a crowd in the past may need to find new ways to blend in to the background.
Many interactions that traditionally happened face to face are now almost completely virtual in most places. This change has both positive and negative consequences. Kids don't have to deal with bullies who made their lives difficult in person, and office workers can escape sexual harassment from the creepy person in the next cubicle. However, people who used work or school as an escape from abusive situations or relationships at home may be in more danger. Also, the increase in online communication may lead to increases in cybercrime and cyberbullying.
Every day there seems to be a new Covid conspiracy theory. Some are too wild for anyone to believe, while others might be plausible, even though untrue. However, as "out there" as many of these theories are, some people do believe them, and might be coerced into criminal activity because of it. Or maybe, for the sake of your story, a conspiracy theory turns out to be true!
Something to try: Write a mystery story set in 2020. Best of luck to your characters!
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