Writing

Mystery Writing Tips and Workbook

Mystery Writing Tips and worksheet.jpg

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Mystery and crime novels, movies and series are my favourite. I love the classic ‘who dunnit’ and helping the detective find out who perpetrator is. My husband and I often bet on who committed the crime and it makes it way more fun to watch till the end. The first mystery story that I’ve written so far is The Ghost Who Stole My Sandwich. It was a collaboration between myself and my stepdaughter. If you would like to read it or recommend it to a friend or family member with children it is available on Amazon for 99c. Click the link below to read a sample of the book or to get more information.

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The Ghost Who Stole My Sandwich

I’ve compiled a list of tips and questions to help you write that mystery novel that will have your readers hooked from beginning to end.

 

Tips for writing a riveting mystery:

  • Plotting is paramount when writing a mystery novel. You are playing a game with the reader so a strong action-packed plot is important.
  • Hook your reader with the first sentence of your novel.
  • Set the mood and surroundings in the first paragraph of your novel.
  • Reveal your detective/ police officer and perpetrator as early as possible, but don’t make the perpetrator too obvious to your reader.
  • Let your reader get involved in helping to solve the crime with your detective.
  • Use suspense where possible, this includes dialogue.
  • Let the crime happen in one of the first chapters.
  • Violent crime is most popular in mystery novels.
  • Breadcrumb clues throughout your novel to help your reader piece the crime together.
  • Make use of shapeshifter characters who may or may not be trustworthy and leave it up to your reader to decide which one the character is.
  • Introduce multiple reasons for the crime to confuse and intrigue your reader.
  • Use red flags from time to time to keep your reader guessing. These red flags can range from a highly suspicious character/s, some seemingly important information or even a possible murder weapon.
  • Make the crime believable by doing your research.
  • The crime should be solved by using evidence and scientific methods, unless your detective is a medium.
  • Leave the big reveal of the culprit till the end.

 

Questions to ask yourself when writing a Mystery:

Getting to know your characters:

Who is the detective?

How old are they?

How old are they mentally?

Did they have a happy childhood? Why? Why not?

Did their parents live together?

Do they have a good relationship with their parents/ siblings?

Are they currently in a relationship?

Are they happy in their relationship? Why? Why not?

How did their past relationships affect them?

Are they damaged in any way?

Do they have any pets?

Do they love their job?

Are they recognised at work?

What do they care about?

What do they love?

What are their obsessions?

What makes them sympathetic?

What makes them unsympathetic?

What is their biggest fear?

What is the best thing to happen to them so far?

What is the worst thing?

What is their biggest accomplishment?

What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to them so far?

What secret are they keeping?

How would you define them in a sentence?

Who is the perpetrator?

How old are they?

How old are they mentally?

Did they have a happy childhood? Why? Why not?

Did their parents live together?

Do they have a good relationship with their parents/ siblings?

Are they currently in a relationship?

Are they happy in their relationship? Why? Why not?

How did their past relationships affect them?

Are they damaged in any way?

Do they have any pets?

Do they love their job?

Are they recognised at work?

What do they care about?

What do they love?

What are their obsessions?

What is their biggest fear?

What makes them sympathetic?

What makes them unsympathetic?

What is the best thing to happen to them so far?

What is the worst thing?

What is their biggest accomplishment?

What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to them so far?

What secret are they keeping?

How would you define them in a sentence?

Other Characters:

Who are your shapeshifter characters?

Who helps your detective try and solve the mystery?

Who has something to hide?

Who has more information about the crime?

Who has witnessed the crime?

 

The crime:

What type of crime is it?

Where did the crime occur?

How did it happen?

Was it intentional or an accident?

Which other characters are capable of committing the crime?

What clues can you leave for your reader to help them discover who the culprit is?

How is the culprit punished for the crime?

What is the detective’s life like after the crime has been solved?

 

The setting:

How important is the setting to the story?

What time period is the story set in?

Why is it set during that time period?

What season is it?

How does the season affect the story?

What time of day does the crime occur?

Is any part of the setting symbolic for something?

How does the detective fit into the setting?

What restrictions are there in the time period for your character? E.g. women were not allowed to read in the past.

How do the other characters fit into the setting?

What is the atmosphere or mood?

Do you intend to describe the setting with great detail or do you want to leave it up to your reader?

 

The plot:

Does your story incorporate an element of romance?

Do you use any narrative devices like flashbacks or multiple voices?

At what point does the suspense mount in your story?

Are your plot twists plausible or implausible?

What point does the suspense reach a climax?

How long does it take to uncover the mystery?

Is your conclusion believable?

Can you think of an alternate ending?

 

Feel free to download the free printable workbook of these questions to get you well on your way to making crime pay!

Questions to ask yourself when writing mystery 1Questions To Ask Yourself When Writing Mystery

Do you enjoy mystery as a genre? What is your favourite genre? Do you have any extra tips for writing mystery? What’s your favourite mystery movie or television show at the moment? Let me know by commenting below!

 

Love and Blessings,

Lindsay Sign Off New

Connect with me on social media:

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Or visit my Amazon Author Page and support me by buying a book. Feel free to drop me an email at lindsaylovinlife@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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