Bright Hub Education reports:
"Mysteries are addictive. Pick up a good one and you won't put it down until you're done. Then you'll want to read more from that author and about those characters. Learn to write your own addictive mystery story by following these five steps...Mystery is central to human thinking. What happened and why? This is the core idea to most great novels. But let's start small. Hone your skill with short mystery stories less than ten pages in length. Then consider tackling your own novel...Initially, spend all of your time crafting the finish. Your story will be no good if it doesn't end with a wham. Every word and paragraph leading up to the finale will be for nothing if you don't leave the reader wowed. Your conclusion must be surprising. Like a good roller coaster, it should make your readers lean in one direction and then whip them around. So think about the unexpected. Ask essential questions about your crime and criminal...Envision your final scene. Your sleuth discovers and reveals the last clues in a dramatic and entertaining fashion. Your criminal is exposed. The metaphorical curtain drops and the crowd applauds...If you can't feel this concluding moment and aren't excited to get there, get back to work on [it] until you have a finish line worth crossing. Once you have your finale, build your fictional machinery to carry your readers there...You need a lead character to build around. Craft one right and readers will want to read the next adventure. Free-write on every aspect of your character. The sleuth will flavor the entire story, so know the person well...You may want a super-intelligent, physically gifted wonder-detective, but be sure to have a character with balance. A perfect person with no flaws is tough for readers to relate to. A human with weaknesses and foibles will gain more empathy. A signature wrinkle, like being distracted by sweets or overly trustful of children, will give you a lovable and entertaining lead character...Looking again at the conclusion of your story, compose a list of clues for you[r] sleuth and reader to discover. Consider the order of discovery. What is the final clue that ties it all together? What clues are meaningless alone, but together with the other items [become] important? Show the readers something early that they won't take note of. Then, when another element of your mystery is revealed, that something becomes a big thing and it was right there all along. If you have an imperfect sleuth, he or she might have overlooked something the reader did see. Then your reader watches the sleuth proceed in the wrong direction. You can also do the opposite: [H]ave the sleuth two steps ahead of the reader. Your audience is wondering what your investigator is up to before realizing the truth. Be sure to lay out some false clues. This will help you draw your reader and sleuth in the wrong direction so you can surprise them in the end. Make them feel foolish for following a false lead. Make a trail that leads to the wrong culprit, the obvious choice, and then drop a clue showing why the person is innocent or even framed...Every element of your story should contribute to your theme. Begin with the place. City or country? A mystery in a crowded metropolis must deal with a multitude of potential witnesses and suspects. One taking place in a less populated area has fewer possibilities, but greater interaction among the people. Everyone knows everyone in a small town. Ten people in the same mansion is a classic setting. So is a locked-room mystery, where it seems obvious no one could have done it. Think about how the place, large or small, and the people affect the conclusion of your story. You choose the elements on which to focus...When you rewrite, notice if you wander onto an unimportant tangent. No one cares about the bowl of fruit on the table if it isn't poisoned. Keep your writing tight and focused on your finish...Mystery is a very dense genre, with many famous authors, sleuths, [sidekicks] and styles. But this is your story. Don't try to follow another's footsteps too closely. Write a mystery the way no one else has. Use bright, imaginative language and your unique rhythm. If you don't have fun writing, no one will have fun reading. Be excited to move toward your conclusion. Enjoy hanging out with your characters, especially your main one. Love reading your drafts aloud and savor the taste of the language. Create a signature style for yourself...Know that this can become a series. Develop a method and be organized so you can make another. For the next adventure of Detective X, have a different crime and criminal, but use the same rhythm and style. Build a following of loving readers."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.