Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Writing Tips

I thought I'd briefly share some thoughts on Mystery Writing:

Writing for the mystery genre can be fun, but there’s a lot of preliminary work that goes into it before you can sit down and begin.

One of the most important aspects of mystery writing is the plot. This genre is very plot driven and it’s important to flesh out a good strong plot before beginning. This includes creating several plot points leading readers on different paths. Don’t give out too much information too soon in your story. Equally important is knowing how your story will end. By outlining your plot and establishing your ending up front, you’ll know how to structure the other elements of your story.

A mystery incorporates the following elements: a problem or conflict, a villain, a detective or hero, clues/red herrings, and suspense. Also, the time and setting are important elements as well. Time and setting can augment suspense and mood of the story.

The best way to begin the story is with action. Put the hero, villain, or both in action when you start. This engages the reader and lends itself to introducing the problem/conflict that the hero has to solve.

Characters should include the hero/detective, villain, and a supporting cast. Define your main character. Is he or she a go-getter like “Nancy Drew” or a hard-charging police detective determined to solve any mystery? The villain must be appropriately matched. Having a “Nancy Drew-like” sleuth bring down a crime cartel wouldn’t be realistic. Also, when considering the mystery, or crime/problem to be solved, cruelty to animals or violence directed at anyone is generally discouraged in this genre. Your hero should be striving to solve a murder mystery (like in “The DaVinci Code”) or trying to locate a stolen, rare painting. Keep in mind, as your hero navigates your plot, he or she has to use believable and legal forms of evidence. This keeps your story grounded in reality and believable.


WRITING TIP: As you sit down to do the preminlary work for your next project, do some character bios on your main characters. Get to know as well as you can before you write. Don't just do the basics - like physical characteristics. Here's an example of an "Emotional" Mini Bio:

Stefan Sigmaringen : Emotional Mini Bio

Three things he values:

Three things he fears the most:

His basic attitude about life:

What does he need to know about the other person in order to accept them as trustworthy?

What would cause him pain?

What is the most wonderful thing that could happen to him?

What three moods would he use to describe himself, accurate or not?

Organization: Why or Why not?


Hope this helps.
Write on.

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