After bringing to you several new authors over the last few months, I’m glad to welcome back an old friend, Carole Brown. Carole relates how mysteries are a mystery to write until you dig into understanding the genre. Welcome back, Carole!
It was a dark and stormy night.
Uh, huh. We’ve heard this one before. But what if you start your novel like this…
Lightning split the coal-black heavens into multiple pieces as the bullet-sized raindrops pounded Jason’s hood-covered head, encouraging a mammoth headache to split his head into confusion.
Mysteries are said to be the hardest genre to write. I believe it, but I also find it fascinating to attempt it. A few things you have to remember when attempting this genre are simple enough to explain but harder to do. But effort, study and a determination to succeed will put you in a good place to get that mystery book written.
Investigate the different sub-genres of mystery diligently. Know what will resound with your writing before you begin, or write a few short stories as practice until you recognize which one fits you– classic/traditional, crime, police procedurals/hard-boiled, noir, gumshoe/private detective, cozies, and capers.
Remember, you don’t want too write like so and so. You want to stand out on your own merits. Add a new element, that coincides with the mystery genre, but makes readers straighten in their seat. Do your diligent homework, study the genre and what is necessary, find that element that will cause you to stand out from the rest, then proceed (again and again) to write your mystery.
Here are a few thoughts on what helps:
- Pose your mystery question at the beginning as quickly as possible.
- Choose an ordinary character who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances OR an extraordinary character who finds himself in ordinary circumstances. Create your characters to stand out, to be ordinary or not, abled to be labeled as:
- a reflection of society
- someone with a bit of sassiness
- serious with a bent to boredom and over-thinking
- one who is callous to murder
- Research and pick your setting with purpose.
- Red herrings
- Suspenseful dialogue
- Set the mood with descriptive language
- Chapters that keep your reader turning pages, trying to figure out who is the antagonist, what will happen next..
I have two mystery series I’m working on, although one of them is on hold for awhile:
- The Denton and Alex Davies series (cozy). A fun, adventurous married couple (even if Denton is a bit grumpy) who travel the U.S. and constantly find mysteries that seem to pop up everywhere.
- The Appleton, WV Romantic Cozies series. (A town filled with colorful characters who find their own mystery in each book.)
There is lots more to learn about mysteries, all of it fascinating and helpful. Do your due diligence in studying about mysteries. And if you proceed, you’ll find it’s one of the hardest but most rewarding genres to write in.
Wishes for great success to you mystery book authors!
To read more posts on writing mysteries, click here.
Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions—all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s been receiving.
Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubling history—but the first man in years who’s interested her—is building to a peak. Yet Perrin’s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way.
Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business may ruin Christmas for Toni’s employees as well as her own happiness.
Will a mysterious person succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen? And will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of fourteen, best selling, award-winning books, she loves to weave suspense, mystery and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She’s also published one children’s book and is in two anthologies. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. She has found that the traveling and ministering has served her well in writing her novels. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? Connect with Carole on her personal blog, Facebook, FB fan page, Amazon, Bookbub, IG, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
Thank so much, Carole, for you tips!