Wow, it was hard picking just two terms for today’s post. I could have done backup squad or build suspense or ballistics or ballistic vest or even booking officer. Lots of great options for this day’s letter.
Burglary is often used as a synonym for robbery by those NOT in the know. One reason for choosing this term today was to make sure you don’t make a mistake when writing that many readers, let alone public safety personnel, will recognize as an error. To burgle or burglarize is to enter a building with the intent of committing a crime like theft (most often), but it can extend to other crimes as well.
To rob or commit robbery is to take personal property from someone while using force or the threat of force.
To call a street hold-up a burglary is as wrong as saying someone robbed an unguarded safe. Clear?
Breakthrough is a favorite for mystery and crime writers. A breakthrough is the discovery that breaks the case open. It is the discovery helps solve the crime. The breakthrough is a major turning point in the mystery where now everyone knows whodunit. Sometimes it is a concealed piece of evidence that emerges or a piece of evidence that is reinterpreted. Sometimes it is a confession or statement by a witness that gives the final puzzle part to the detective.
Breakthroughs have to be handled carefully so they don’t appear to be a deus ex machina. Rather the breakthrough should be organic to the story, emerging at the right time in a logical progression the reader may or may not have anticipated but which is appropriately positioned and results in a satisfying story ending.
The List: A Story in 26 Parts
Brains like hers, a valuable commodity, could be insured for a million dollars. She had a rider for her old typewriter for that amount, too. She couldn’t imagine producing her daily column without it, though she was beginning to suspect that she might be producing the column without her brain. The older she got, she realized, the longer it took her to generate clever and concise responses to the stupid questions people asked.
Irritatingly, they insisted upon asking them over and over. She had, more than once, fought the urge to write a response directing them to the fifteen previous times she had answered the very same question.