Tagged: Writing steps

Step 9: Create Final Scenes

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You learned last week that your sleuth has failed. A suspect has been arrested for the murder, and she knows he didn’t do it. She is crushed. Just when all seems hopeless, your sleuth picks herself up again. This time it will be all or nothing. She will push herself to the limit to solve […]

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Step 8: Write Act II Scenes

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Now it’s time to enrich and complicate your story. Your sleuth, you may recall from last week’s post, faces insurmountable odds. How can she find the killer? Here’s where you can show her intelligence, resourcefulness, and determination. She rises to the occasion. Here’s the questions to ask: Who wanted the victim dead? You should have already created […]

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Step 7: Craft Scenes in Act I

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Crafting scenes is much like making a patchwork quilt. Each scene must be different–reveal some detail about the plot or characters or both–but it must also fit into the larger whole of the story. But don’t get too anxious–this is the fun part! To begin, review last week’s post on the 3 act structure. Take […]

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Step 6: Build a Story Structure

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Just like a building, a story needs a structure to frame your story. Wanting to make my work as easy as possible (remember I told you that you’d learn 10 easy steps to mystery writing), I use a simple 3-act structure. Act I In Act I you set up your story. Act I: Introduces major characters, […]

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Step 5: Create a Killer and Suspects

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As promised, this week we’ll create a killer and suspects to keep your sleuth confused. Confusion and complications–the hallmarks of good mysteries! The Killer The killer must have the means to kill, the motive to kill, and the opportunity to do the dastardly deed. MOM in mystery writer parlance. I start with the motive, which […]

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Step 4: Create More Characters

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Last week we created our sleuth. This week we’ll create characters to surround the sleuth. These include sidekicks, mentors, antagonists other than the villain, the victim, the killer, and suspects. You can use some of the same characteristics you learned in creating your sleuth but to a lesser degree depending on the needs of the story. Sidekicks and […]

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Step 3: Create Characters

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Now that we’ve discovered a murder and built a story world, it’s time to create our characters. Where to start? You might think we should start with the victim…but you’d be wrong. Think of it this way: who is in every story, especially if you’re writing a series? The sleuth! She might discover any number of […]

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Step 2: Build a Story World

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Building a story world is great fun. I get to explore places and people I might never have met either in history or in person. I start with the big picture environment. Is the setting a real place? Is it contemporary or historical? Can I travel there? Or create it from my desk? How much can I actually see? For my […]

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Step 1: Start with Murder

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In beginning a new mystery, I start with the murder. Who’s the victim? Who’s the murderer? What’s his motive? How is she killed? Where is he killed? The victim might be not so nice, regardless of appearances. He may have a dark or devious side to his personality. Maybe he cheated the killer out of money or […]

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How to Write a Mystery in 10 (easy?) Steps

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I promised my blog readers that I’d only post about 19th century lore but…recurring questions at book events about how I craft a mystery have spurred me to deviate from my plan. So, to please anyone who wants to know how I craft my stories, the next 10 weeks-one step each week-will tell you. And, the time is […]

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