Writing a Mystery Novel
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Hello, I am writing my first mystery novel, and I joined this group particularly in the hopes of sharing joys and sorrows with fellow mystery novels. Is there anyone else there who, like me, tends to write short stories that aren't mysteries, but then in long form -- like a novel or novella -- finds every plot is really a mystery story?
  • Same here. Somewhere along the line you run out of poignant moments and you have to think it through and tell the character what to say or do.
  • Yes. No Evidence of a Crime is my mystery. I pictured the whole process to be different; more like a movie with distinctive moments and poignant scenes where everyone knows their next line, but it wasn't. It was fraught with real life. Darn that real life.
  • Hi ladies. I actually do have fiction published but not this genre. I was very fortunate to have an editor of a small British indie who saw something in the horrible pages I sent her and walked me through the entire process of writing a novel. I admit to being a pretty quick study or she most likely would have given up on me. She gave me many pieces of excellent advice. One pertains to what Valerie was saying about flat characters, though mine were all somewhat flat, not just the main character and perhaps that's a different problem. But this might help: She said, "Your reader does not understand your characters' emotions. You have to tell them." I always thought that the emotion was obvious in the action but that does not seem to be the case. It seems simplistic to write in "his pain .... [whatever]" but when I did it and went back and reread it was so much better. And Roberta, I just LUUUUUVVVV subplots. Hopefully mine work. I think they just have to be pristine in their clarity. That is actually my problem with my second almost finished mystery. I know exactly where I'm going but have to sweep the debris off the path. Regards to you both. Ruth
  • "My biggest problem was that while all of the side characters in my book were full of personality, jumping off the page, my main character was flat. No one 'got' her. She was observing everyone else—especially all those big, bold side characters--rather than having any feelings herself. She was behaving like a journalist, not a real flesh-and-blood person." Exactly. I knew the problem, but I hadn't yet pegged the reason. Thanks for that link, Roberta.
  • I hear you on that one. There are a lot of interesting blog posts here about jumping from nonfiction to ficiton writing, and what traps to avoid in the process. I found them by doing a blog search for "novels".
  • Don't we all have some sorrows? The day I realize everything I wrote the day before reads more like a book report about the plot rather than an actual story . . . that was my latest sorrow but it led to the joy of experimenting with my writing schedule to figure out when my most creative time is (at night, even after a long day at work . . . I am definitely not a morning writer if I have a day job to tend to.)