Tips on writing a mystery story

Give the murderer a clear and convincing motive. Step inside your character's mind.

mystery story ideas

To know too much at the start takes the pleasure out of discovering what the book is about. When you rewrite, notice if you wander onto an unimportant tangent.

Tips on writing a mystery story

Do you want the sleuth to take the reader on a journey, revealing his or her thought process? Have the kids pick out a few of their own physical characteristics and personality traits that would work well for the protagonist. Here are some examples to try: The main character is alone in a dangerous place. Step inside your character's mind. Try looking for ideas as you read the newspaper. Cat and mouse is definitely not mystery. The main character reveals something surprising about the puzzle that no one expected. Do they interview and ask lots of questions? I was writing short stories for Le Matin, and Colette was literary editor at that time. The first page sells that book. 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. Think about "red herrings. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions. What are those reasons?

Make friends with your local police department. Make your villains attractive, so that they can get near their victims.

formula for writing a mystery novel

What is the final clue that ties it all together? It's all right for the middle of your story to remain flexible.

Writing a mystery story template

I was writing short stories for Le Matin, and Colette was literary editor at that time. Nasty weather can keep your characters isolated, ensuring muddy footprints will follow anyone back inside. This way you can see how other writers use the rules, and how they're able to get away with breaking them. They read it to get to the end. Readers who are "competing" against the detective and trying to solve the mystery on their own will feel cheated if the detective has key information that is being kept from them. It's easy to begin writing and surprise yourself on every page, then discover that in the middle of your story you've written yourself into a box. Every story begins with an idea. Be sure to lay out some false clues. Step inside your character's mind. Use the character questionnaire to create a character, and then imagine a situation in which this person would be driven to murder.

The main character is normally the person trying to solve the crime. Do the hinges squeak or the floors creak?

how to write a mystery novel outline
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Step 2: Writing Tips