Whydunit and What that Means for Storytelling
Whydunit: what does it mean for storytelling? It’s big right now in the crime drama genre and something I’m enjoying immensely in books and television. It’s where the motive is the mystery and not the identity.
The Sinner series: where we know who did the crime before we understand why they did it, really struck a chord with me.Michael Poeltl
The whodunit is the tried-and-true crime formula and has been a very successful recipe in telling exciting stories that keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. It still is, but this Whydunit sub-genre opens new opportunities for telling a crime drama.
Sure, we learn why the crime was committed once we discover the whodunit, but knowing the whodunit before we understand why creates a new kind of tension. It lets us get to know the characters through their day-to-day while reliving past events that led up to the murder. Often the killer doesn’t even know why they did it until the end.
In my latest novel, a crime drama, the Whydunit angle is explored through character development while the Whodunit is also held back until the end. With four main characters, including a detective caught up in a serial killing case, there is enough personal and story drama to keep readers interested and guessing over the whodunit and the whydunit.
I’m looking forward to releasing this novel and hashtagging the #whydunit angle to see who’s on the lookout for a whydunit. I’m a fan, so I hope others are looking too.