Okay, okay... one post tonight. But only because I'm having trouble finding a plot for a crime story.
Yes, crime stories are a part of speculative fiction. You can think of this as a mix of subcategories: Mystery is probably the most well-known of these, whereas genres such as the Whodunit and the Noir have each had their day in the sun. Historically, crime stories have been mostly marginalized and accused of having no redeemable artistic value. That gives them a background that is similar to the fantasy and science fiction that we know and love, and is probably why these genres all get lumped together when it comes to "speculative fiction."
Nevertheless, I'm still having trouble finding a plot for a crime story. Just because one can deal with magic and robots on a regular basis doesn't mean that he can take the sight of a bullet-ridden body in the dead of night.
Seriously, however... I think that my mode of thought is off whack right now. Crime stories need a certain mentality to understand them and outline the resulting plots. Given that my method of plotting stories lies somewhere along the lines of "Ooooh, oooh, what if you had a call center run by vampires?", you can probably see my problem there.
I also have a habit of injecting a lot of needless detail into my work. I've always figured that it helps the atmosphere, but with crime stories it's another issue altogether. The genre always seems to be a lot more complex than it looks at first glance -- packing a lot of detail into its stories therefore isn't as effective as choosing your elements carefully. Mind you, I suspect that I see a lot of mystery novelists on the bookshelves simply because it's difficult to concentrate all their thoughts into a mere two thousand words.
There's also the issue of what crime to choose. I figure that such things as murder, robbery and fraud are old standbys... but they might be too overused for me. If I've seen a scheme executed on TV in some form, then I figure that it's been long done... and unfortunately, I've seen too many episodes of CSI. Or NCIS. Or Law and Order. Or Matlock, of all things.
Of course, the easiest way out would be to simply mix crime fiction with the more fantastic genres... but it's the easiest way out for a reason: it's too easy. Besides, the editors probably wouldn't fly with my adulterating their beloved crime genre with my constantly-flitting ideas.
Then there's always the possibility of sitting back and letting the perfect crime come to me. I don't mean that I'd like to get mugged in the middle of the night sometime, of course. I mean that, at some point in time, the perfect crime encased in the perfect intractable situation with the perfect cast of characters will come to me. Maybe it'll happen before the deadline, or maybe it'll come a little too late. Whatever the case, I'll be thinking about it a little more.
That's it for tonight. I'll go and have a few nightmares to cheer me up.