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How to Plot a Mystery Novel

Published by Nanni on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo credit by Rishi S

Novel writing is a hobby of many people. There is just something calming and yet invigorating about sitting down and putting thoughts onto paper. Novels allow writers and readers to get the chance to escape their own life and go somewhere else. Mystery novels are exciting and suspenseful. Anyone interested in writing a mystery novel is going to need to focus a great deal of their writing time on coming up with a plot for the novel.

There are a few tips on plotting a mystery novel which can be quite helpful. One is to introduce the sleuth who will solve the crime early on in the book. This is going to be a main character after all. So it’s best to let the reader become acquainted as soon as possible. A mystery novel must always be solved, and to capture the reader’s attention, it is important to have the sleuth who is someone interesting. The personality of this character needs to be enough to keep readers intrigued until the last page of the book.

In the first chapter, a few more events should take place. That includes determining for the reader where and when the crime occurs. A lot of authors even use this as the intro to their novel. This grounds the reader and helps them feel more familiar with the story.

Over the next few chapters, the plot of the mystery novel should begin to intensify. The sleuth should be on the right path to solving the mystery. However, obstacles should arise which create more complications to make the story more interesting. A good mystery novel will set up the reader to believe various characters possible of having motive for committing the crime. Authors should never give away the end of a story for a mystery novel because the whole point is to keep the reader guessing all the way through.

The last two to three chapters should be the most exciting. Here the sleuth should have a dramatic confrontation between the different possible perpetrators. This allows readers to feel the climax and begin assuming more seriously who actually committed the crime. Remember that the more unlikely a character the criminal turns out to be, the more rewarding the story is for the reader.

Readers like to be surprised and intrigued when reading a mystery novel. It is easy to assume that a certain type of character is the bad guy, but this doesn’t always have to be so. Authors of mystery novels must be careful with their writing, and ensure that they are giving hints to the reader along the way but not enough to ruin the story early on. For the conclusion of any mystery novel, there must be some sort of resolution. This gives a proper ending to the story, and in most cases shows that justice has prevailed. This gives readers a feeling of satisfaction rather than leaving them hanging on for more and questioning what the point of the story was.

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