Remember when Gone Girl disrupted our belief in happily-ever-after? Or when we began triple checking our compartments after reading Murder on the Orient Express? What intrigued us to fall in love with the mystery genre? The suspense.
We, as humans, are bound to be fascinated by cliffhangers and excitement. Among us, many go hand in glove with crime fiction, while others are lost in the dark of detective fiction.
A great way to draw the readers’ attention is by adding a compelling trail of clues. Adding fiddly twists in a mystery novel keep bookworms hooked to the plot, and let us be honest, it is not a piece of cake. Bring in your best buddy and begin reading because we have you sorted to write your own Sherlock and Watson mysteries.
Our blog will be pinpointing these:
- The concept behind writing mystery
- Short stories Vs. Novels
- The sequence of proceedings toward confusion and clarification
- Selling points
What Does ‘Writing Mystery’ Mean?
If you have hopped onto the bandwagon of writing mysteries, don’t worry because it might initially seem a little crowded. Let us steer the parade. Crime and detective fictions function on a close shave.
Ideally, it is a secret.
As Scooby-doo always taught us, the suspect breathes the same air as ours yet still goes unnoticed; the talent is to adapt to the same guideline. One of the best definitions of ‘writing mystery’ is a ‘jumbled secondary plot.’ Amidst the chaos of finding the answer to a visible issue, the bend is hidden in the whodunit.
Therefore, writing mystery means a storyline that engages readers to the core and makes them live the crime scenes and detections.
How to Write a Mystery Short Story Vs. Writing a Mystery Novel
It is challenging to have a bucket full of ideas in your head and not have the time to construct a novel. Such situations require a quick grasp of short stories. What makes a novel a short story?
· Word Limit
You can toggle between series or movies in a world full of options. It is a matter of preference, merely. Mystery short stories are perfect for a small getaway amidst the week and work—just like movies. In about 1000 to 5000 words, you will deliver thrill, suspense, exhilaration, and mischief.
That’s a short story for you.
If you want to be sorted with your weekend plans, grab a 60,000 to 120,000 worded mystery novel and unwind with a scented candle on your bedside, unwavering the clandestine.
Mystery short stories are generally narrated in the first-person point of view. The concept revolves around a character’s lived experiences. However, mystery novels are written as a fruit salad of characters, twists, and sequential drama.
Enjoying every character’s viewpoint adds to the readers’ interest.
· Sequence of Events
As the mystery short story progresses, the protagonist comes to hell or high water with changes and climaxes. It usually ends with an insight or understanding developed against an antagonist.
Novels restrict you on a widow’s walk.
The complexity of mystery novel transformations aggravates anticipation of finding the answers to a noticeable mystery.
· Time period
In the interest of time, mystery short stories will require focus on hours and days. In mystery novels, however, the ambiguity spans generations, countries, and nations at times.
Talk about themes?
If you wish to stay minimalistic, short stories are your cue. Notwithstanding, the stratification of themes with more breadth sets the direction for a novel.
Short stories are challenging with the restriction to stick with one concept and character with depth and apprehension. The magic of words is limited to the short story’s tight and directed flow. Therefore, you might have to write and rewrite plenty of times strategically.
The tactic is to influence the character with a few hundred words emotionally.
Got time to play around with characters?
Pen down a mystery novel to sweep in subplots and conspiracies. The process might take months or even years despite the flexibility of word count.
How to Write a Mystery Story?
Let’s take a flying start toward your own mystery novel.
The variety of subgenres in whodunits exhaust the content accumulation procedure, but the nuts and bolts remain the same.
Read between the lines:
1. Mystery Weapon
If you are set to write a mystery story, it shall always begin with an engaging, nerve-wracking, and thought-provoking concept. Let’s name it the ‘Murder Weapon’ of the plot.
Add more drama and incitement to it, and your reader will be hooked for the following twenty pages.
2. Barricade Tape
Encircle your supposed crime scene with a barricade tape of character cores and backgrounds. Here, you allow the reader to presume the suspect, imagine the crime location and connect the dots.
When the reader trespasses the barricade, write smartly and make them go in circles. Before they know it, they’ll be back to square one.
Before your reader gets to the detective work, write your mystery novel off—pace with the story and hit with a setback.
Before the reader recovers from the sudden burst of information, flip a transition in the story or a throwback. Allow some time for your reader to dig into the misdirecting fabrication. You can give correct answers midway and let the reader assume they are wrong because of the timing.
It’s time to pull together some unnoticeable hints.
4. The Arrest and Heist
Or is it? This is the introduction to the climax of the mystery. The protagonist meets the darkest hour of the case and leaps into the reader’s mind.
Most arrests require to be written with extensive thrill and action. Now is the time to hit the protagonist with setbacks, job losses, relationship issues, and dead ends.
Now is the time that the cardiac monitor shows a flat line.
The reader should be at the edge of the sofa, and a few pages later, the protagonist catches on to the well-disguised antagonist as the suspect and solves the mystery.
How to Start a Mystery Story?
As perplexing as it seems to write a mystery, it is not. Keep these few pointers in mind:
The First Sentence
Your reader is craving some drama and spice. Is your first sentence up to the mark? Shake up the information in your brain to create a line that stuns your readers.
Whack It Up
As your readers build interest, they are immediately hit with an event that runs shivers down their spines. Be very keen about the tenses. Readers usually appreciate a character’s point of view.
Now consider: How to write a mystery novel with information that catches the reader off-guard while hiding in plain sight?
Easy. Confuse them with explicit details of the date, day, time, and weather.
Is your story stopping an eight-day clock just to throw it in reverse? If yes, shift the attack angle toward a side story to bark up the wrong tree.
Your reader is so confused that they are urged to finish your book in one night.
So, when are you going to start a mystery story?
How to Write a Good Mystery—Top Tips
These top tips will serve a purpose mirroring sitting with Sherlock to write a mystery. Ever wondered why we want more seasons of The Umbrella Academy when there is always an apocalypse?
How to stir-fry suspense with readability? Read below:
Humor in mysteries is like garlic in food—especially when you least expect it. Adding dialogues from one of the most entertaining characters in the book will have your readers turn pages ferociously to read those parts.
To make it more exciting, get the most loved character kidnapped. That always works.
2. Eerie Scary
The tone is everything.
If the words don’t paint a picture of the scenario, your reader will put the book back on the shelf. How to write a mystery novel that sells requires dedication towards language.
As unsettling as it sounds, the reader will confuse your mystery for sci-fi if the crime location doesn’t involve graphic, violent details, and jump scares.
3. Dirty Laundry
Whether grown-up or teens, every reader is interested in the characters’ dirty laundry. Get off the rack midway and go back to the unappreciated details of the characters’ lives. Just when the reader is hooked on gossip.
Reveal an important set of information, leaving their mouths wide open.
4. The Duke
How to write a mystery novel without mentioning a character that entices the readers is par comprehension. Some characters are thrown into the plot just to attract the audience.
Describe them compellingly.
Confuse your reader into believing they’re worthless, and spin the mystery on them midway. Attach personal connections and heroism to justify their positions and actions. Now, your reader is unsure about the integrity of the character and wants answers.
5. Scooby Snacks
This reference never gets old.
Allow ample participation from the reader. Leave clues in the most unrelated places for them. The mind game will develop an attachment to them with the storyline and certain characters.
Remember, many detectives don’t agree to become the bait and catch the antagonist without these.
6. Huck Finn
Mislead most properly. Make the story predictable, and place the plot twist on the corner. Weave the misinformation in the storyline swiftly. When the reader believes it, throw in a shred of evidence that messes up the subversion.
Write a mystery novel with meaningful filler content. No mystery novel is complete without half-truths and propaganda. Add it to agonize the reader into finishing the chapter.
7. Do You Even Read?
Writing advice comes best from what has already been published and sold. Pick out ideas and come out of your shell. Read all such stories.
Now, once you finish the book, go back to the start and learn to incorporate information sleekly. Grasp the tone required to exacerbate tension and absorb the art to bow out candles.
8. Detective Work
No book sounds worse than one written with ill information. Conduct research on town names, characteristics, mystery weapons, and crime protocols.
Legwork to the fullest.
Profound knowledge of detective and police procedures is crucial—specific to the region you set your story in. Make your friends and family read the initial drafts to pick out any such mistakes. Before readers make fun of the technical irregularities when you write a mystery, nip the evil in the bud.
Excited? So are we.
As the above information might have pumped you up, go pick a pen and outline the key characters and plot of the story. Discussing it with your friends to prepare a confusing list of suspects is always fun.
Once done, gather clues.
The story will progress with the investigator, so make sure the character is not dull. Crime solving should forever look cool; we believe you can create something ditto. Attach emotional elements to the character’s backstory to engage the reader mindfully.
Pulling in a cause for the protagonist to go out of the way and solve mysteries never goes out of style. Readers invest their interest in relatable stories.
How to write a mystery novel that doesn’t lose track requires a mix and match of sentiments. Kill off important characters to make readers develop an attachment. As the clue appears, it invalidates the detective’s action plan and makes them hit rock bottom.
To write a mystery is to knock a cocked hat.
Don’t stop imagining. Any mystery novel that was ever sold gained its acceptance through imagination.
Blurt out a framework on the page and edit it later. Don’t let your mind rest and forget the enthusiasm that got you here. Reading the drafts, again and again, will polish your work and result in a masterpiece. The tips we offer are tried and tested, however, waiting in desperation to be used for your spectacular ideas.
So, if you think the other shoe will drop if you write a mystery, that’s not so. We are here for the flutter in the dovecote.