Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Mystery and Suspense

Mystery vs Suspense

According to Alfred Hitchcock, “mystery” is an intellectual process, and “suspense” is an emotional process. Mystery and suspense both are very important in a story or in any kind of narration. People in general are curious creatures. They like to solve things, know about things they are not aware of, solve puzzles, and reach conclusions or a verdict in their minds on their own. Thus, mysteries intrigue them.

A mystery basically refers to a puzzle. The puzzle could be in any genre, whether it is a fictional story about crime, romance, history, sci-fi, or a real-life situation like news where the facts are unknown and difficult to put together. It creates an interest in people. Mysteries make people think and try their intellectual best to solve them. In writing, it is a very important element. The writer is supposed to provide clues to the protagonist as well as the audience or reader. The plot has to be tight and foolproof, the reasoning power of the protagonist should match the most intellectual reader, or the mystery will be solved by the reader before the story is over.

A mystery may refer to anything natural or supernatural. It could be a crime or a story about people where new twists and turns keep developing or facts from the past are revealed. It can be compared to peeling an onion. Layer after layer of new information which demands to be put together like a jigsaw puzzle and solved as a complete picture.

“Suspense” basically refers to feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. It is more of a threat or imminent danger that needs to be faced and resolved. Suspense does not include solving puzzles. It is an emotional journey where the reader or the audience feels the danger or the threat along with the protagonist. It is a very important element of writing, and suspense writers have the capacity to produce fear in the minds of the reader or audience. They have a very strong understanding of what can pose a threat to a human in the form of danger and anxiety.

Suspense doesn’t necessarily have to be fiction. Suspense can be any tension before a big event. It arises from uncertainties and the anticipation of having to face something unknown in the future. It pinpoints the aspect of human emotions when they are unaware of what is going to happen next, and there is a threat along with the moment because both good or bad can occur. Moreover, it arises with the acknowledgement that sometimes nobody has the power to stop the outcome.

Suspense is not always something huge. It could be something as simple as “What grades did I get?” or something like, “Are we going to have a boy or a girl?”

Summary:

“Mystery” refers to an intellectual process where there is a puzzle that needs to be solved; “suspense” refers to an emotional process where there is an unknown situation, event, or threat that produces anxiety and fear and needs to be resolved.


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