The best murder mysteries blend the feeling of a great read with the feeling of playing a game. For all the variety murder mysteries offer, there are a few cast iron conditions that authors need to respect. The best of which is… Plot backwards Of course, the easiest way to ensure your mystery works is to begin with the solution and work backwards.
Return to Content Better mystery plots: What can Arthur Conan Doyle and cult classic TV mystery series teach us about writing better mysteries?
Read 7 clues for writing your own engrossing puzzler: Know different types of mysteries inside out 2. Brainstorm your best mystery plot ideas 3. Use core elements of gripping mystery plots 4.
Give characters strong motivations to find solutions 6. Make story setting and atmosphere add mysterious effect 7. Violence and sex are minimized Mystery-thrillers: Novels where there is special emphasis on suspense, excitement and action. Each will give you lessons in creating the secrecy and revelation that is so addictive to mystery lovers.
Brainstorm your best mystery story ideas Great mystery story ideas often include multiple levels of secrecy and revelation. Local property developer Benjamin Horne has cooked up a scheme to seize land for a new housing complex — will he be exposed?
Diner waitress Shelley is cheating on her abusive boyfriend. Will he find out? Even the wood surrounding the town holds secrets.
Brainstorm connections secondary characters have to the person or event at the heart of your mystery. Use core elements of gripping mystery plots Every genre has common plot elements that novels within the genre borrow.
Romance has intimate relationships. Almost every scene is loaded with a sense of possibility and imminent drama — particularly in mystery-thrillers.
Perhaps the victim inherits a vast fortune, thus the motive is greed.
Milk these secondary connections for suspense — some characters will appear guiltier and more suspicious than others. Some will have strong alibis, others not.
For the second plot element, plan how you will build suspense. You can increase suspense in a scene using: Describe settings to show their dangers or drawbacks. If a detective will visit a potentially dangerous suspect, show us the long drive to the main house and the gates closing firmly behind her Suspenseful dialogue: When a character is evasive or blatantly lies, it increases suspicion and suspense What about clues?
What role do they play in mystery novels? Clues, on one level, are bait for the reader. We want to know who left this trail and why, where it leads, so we continue. Give characters strong motivations to find a solution The greatest mysteries are full of the very human discomfort of not knowing.
As he gets to know suspects and witnesses, however, he forms emotional bonds that make finding the perpetrator a personal as well as professional matter. To return to the Twin Peaks example, during his time in Twin Peaks, FBI Agent Dale Cooper befriends locals, promises to help a teen who become infatuated with him, and is generally sucked into the extramural activities of the town e.
The more emotional connection the character investigating your mystery has, the more emotional investment the reader will have.Mystery plots rely on secrecy and revelation, suspicion and deduction.
Read 7 tips for writing a gripping, puzzling mystery. This is essential to learning how to write a mystery novel. Some mystery writers I personally like are Sue Grafton, P.D. James, Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie.
Books that win the Edgar Award for mystery-writing are usually very good. To write a great murder mystery, consider plotting backwards. Click To Tweet. I always know the end of the mystery before I begin to write. Tension should he held within the novel and there should be no longuers of boring interrogation.
There’s nothing quite like a murder mystery, with its blend of high stakes, high tension, and the ability to personally involve the reader as a detective. The best murder mysteries blend the feeling of a great read with the feeling of playing a game.
It’s my pleasure to share with you some fun, quirky, story ideas for writing mysteries. (This is the fourth in my series of story ideas, by the way. If you’re interested in the others, check out 20 fantasy story ideas, 20 sci-fi story ideas, and 20 romance story ideas.
In Mystery Writing, Plot is Everything RonBailey / Getty Images Because readers are playing a kind of game when they read a detective novel, the plot has to come first, above all else.