Writers entering in the RMMWA 6-Word Mystery Contest may enter stories in any or all of these categories. We look forward to your short but thrilling tales!
These tales usually involve high stakes, a ticking clock, and a threat to people, a country, or even the world. Explosives (nuclear is common although germ warfare is fine), a serial killer taunting authorities, or a high speed chase (often across international borders) might be featured in these hard-hitting, fast-paced stories of intrigue, suspicion, and double-dealing.
While these stories feature a murder mystery, they avoid graphic violence, bad language, and sex on the page, though innuendos are fine. They often feature animals helping to solve the case (pets—not lions, tigers and bears. Oh my!), along with baking and recipes, knitting and crafts, plants and gardening, poisons and bludgeons, and other interesting topics.
Romance and Lust
Wherein (classically) girl meets boy, girl has sex with boy, girl loses boy to another girl, and finally girl regains boy before she kills him. The murderess might be a Black Widow, a debutante, or a bus driver. Murder derives from revenge, abandonment, or abuse. Nowadays, all genders are encouraged to apply for both victim and perpetrator.
The thin blue line works overtime to mete out justice usually in the shadows of the city, a small town, or the countryside, and often the story begins with a dead body. But who died, who pulled the trigger—and why? Crime labs, forensic evidence, and high-pressure interrogations lead down blind alleys and up to penthouse suites.
These stories thrive on what transpires in the shadows—the seedy underbelly of the big city, the forgotten desperation of small country towns, or even quiet domestic angst that begins to boil over. The protagonists in these genres are rarely role models, but they’re willing to seek justice on their own, gritty terms. The line between good and evil becomes as blurry as the eyes of the PI after a few shots of cheap whiskey.