Friday, August 15, 2014

Writing A Mystery Novel

Many people dream of writing a great mystery novel, a real who done it? There are many mystery novelists who have perfected the craft, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Graton, and many others. These particular novelists create series out of a few key characters. While they are masters at the craft of creating a mystery novel series, there were definite steps they took to creating their first mystery novel.

The first thing that is necessary is the preliminary steps of picking. You will have to pick a protagonist, the person who is going to solve the mystery. This person can be picked based on his or her job, or by his or her personality. For instance, if you are not using a police officer, then the person can be nosy, investigative, driven, avenging, funny, or sardonic. You will need to pick the type of mystery you want to write. It can be a very police oriented, or an academic type of novel, a cozy mystery, or a historical recount of events. Picking the field of work your main character does will be next on your agenda. He or she can be a part of any type of police force, or be an average person who gardens. If you visit your local bookstore or library, you will see that a person who solves a mystery can do anything. Next you have to pick the voice you are going to write the book in. It can be first person voice or third person voice, or you can make it a combination of both. You can pick the tone of the mystery novel. The novel can be funny, serious, or a combination of both. You must pick the additional characters that will help the story move along. These characters can be sidekicks, law enforcement helpers, bad guys, and good guys. This is the part of a series where you decide which characters will continue on to other books and which characters are for only this book. The last part of the preliminary picking steps is picking whether to outline or not. You can use a full outline or index cards or charts.

Your next step to writing a mystery novel is to begin the writing process. The first page of your novel should set the tone for the rest of the novel. You should get into the story. For example, think of something exciting happening to you and you are telling a friend about it. This is how you should approach the writing of the novel. You are your character. You should tell the story in steps. You can add characters along the way as you need them. You have to let the characters speak for you in whatever way needed. It can be bad language, a nasty personality, or a kind personality. You have to set up your story to have points of conflict and danger. There will need to be characters that stand in the way of the crime being solved and things need to happen to your character along the way. You will need to create a murder within the first 50 pages of the novel. This will give a reason for the protagonist to begin snooping around. When you are ending a chapter, create a cliffhanger. You will want your reader to read on. Set up some false leads through the book to keep your reader guessing. Lead the reader to the solution with little clues and hints, but not too much information. You never want them to guess the mystery until the end. If you are writing a novel where the culprit is known from the beginning, then it has to be structured to where the reader knows more than the hero. If you have done some research for the character of your novel, then you have to be sure to include the information in a way it does not slow down the progress of the story.  When you are writing the end, you have two ways to consider ending the novel. You can leaved your reader with the fulfillment that the mystery was solved, or you can leave them confounded by the out come, which will make them pick up the next in the series. You never want to end your novel with a thud.

         The final thing you want to do when you are writing a mystery novel is execute good work habits. Like any job, writing is working on a project daily. You have to set a schedule to write a certain amount of pages a day. Make sure to work through to the end as fast as you possibly can. Revise your draft at least five times before you read it aloud to someone or to yourself. Print out the draft and edit it on paper, not the computer screen. Be sure to check for spelling and grammar errors. During the editing process, you will have to be sure that the key points to the story make sense. You have to be sure that you are consistent throughout the novel. The facts, plot points, names, methods and murders all match up. Save the final version of the manuscript on a disk. Prepare a final outline of the entire book. You will want to send the out line with some sample chapters, generally the first 50 pages of the manuscript to a literary agent or publishing company

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