Missy Jenkins Musical Mysteries - Mystery, Music and Murder!
RSS

Recent Posts

THE TWIST ENDING
THE USUAL SUSPECTS: WHAT'S THEIR MOTIVE?
PLOTTING A MYSTERY, part two
PLOTTING A MYSTERY
Who is Missy Jenkins?

Categories

Blog plsts
Missy Jenkins mysteries
mystery, writing, music
published book
rollerskating
writing, editing
powered by

My Blog

PLOTTING A MYSTERY

How does a mystery writer go about planting clues and red herrings, fill the book with the usual suspects and the right amount of foreshadowing, enough conflict and suspense to keep the reader guessing whodunit, with a twist at the end? Follow along on the series of blogs, coming up in the next several weeks, to see what worked for me.

This week's blog is titled "Outline or Not, but Have a Plan."
     Whether you're a plotter or a "pantser," when writing a mystery you can't leave everything to chance. Let me be honest. I don't always know the end of the story when I start writing. I don't always write in any particular order. In fact, I write sketchy outlines after my first draft and even then, I'm bound to change them later. Still, I know I need at least somewhat of a plan.
     For my first novel, Terror in Double Time, the historical subplot was the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, so my mystery had to fall within a certain timeline. That gave me an outline I could follow. Certain events in the mystery had to happen on certain days of the disaster.
     In the second book in the series, Death in 3/4 Time, I based the plot on an unsolved true crime, and took the ending in my own what if? direction. So I knew the ending (whodunit), even though I didn't know all the details of how I'd get to the end. So, no outline, no real plot, but a beginning and an end, so I did have a plan.
     When I started writing Killing in Quarter Time, book three, all I had was an idea. I didn't plot; I just started writing and hoped the characters would show me the way. After all, I had lived with the main characters through two other books, I knew them as well as I knew myself! The characters showed me the way, all right--they took me in a totally different direction than where I was going in the first half. I had to go back and re-write. finding and changing all the clues I had already planted.
     That novel made me re-think my way of writing. I still like the quote from E.L. Doctorow: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see so far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." That works for my short stories, but maybe it's not such a good idea for a traditional whodunit.
     Look for my next installment: "The Usual Suspects--What's Their Motive?"


23 Comments to PLOTTING A MYSTERY:

Comments RSS
british essay writer on Friday, June 14, 2019 2:19 AM
You gave good writing tips and advice for struggling mystery writers out there. Writing a story about "who dunnit" is not easy because the writer has to keep the readers guessing until the end. It's bad if people guess who did it not even midway through the novel. My all-time crime mystery novel is "Murder on the Orient Express." There were so many suspects and all of them have a compelling reason or motive to commit the murder. In the end it turned out all those passengers with a connection to the victim had a hand in the murder. What do you think of Detective Hercule Poirot's decision to leave that train without revealing to the police who the real perpetrator is?
Reply to comment
 
Suzanne Flaig on Sunday, June 16, 2019 2:53 PM
Thanks for your comment, british essay writer. I am also a big fan of Agatha Christie, and especially her Hercule Poirot character. I think the ending of "Murder on the Orient Express" works because Hercule (and Dame Agatha) felt that justice was served. He set forth two possible explanations and chose one that brought a satisfactory resolution to her novel.


top essay writing sites on Thursday, August 01, 2019 9:31 AM
I'm extremely pleased to uncover this website. I need to to thank you for one time, just for this wonderful read!!
Reply to comment


Certus Trading Reviews on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:49 AM
He did quite well at it, too, but soon found out that staring at a screen all day was not for him. With the help of a mentor, began focusing on longer-term swing trading with options and futures under the Certus Trading Reviews banner, has been offering a number of trading courses since 2011, including one on options.
Reply to comment


uk bestessays on Friday, August 16, 2019 2:59 PM
Can't wait to read your next post. It will be awesome for me. Don't want to miss it.
Reply to comment


Eva on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 2:23 AM
The blog is so good it contains quality content and I am so happy and glad that i came here and read your blog. Thank You so much for sharing it with us. click hereto buy rubber sheet
Reply to comment


Yeezy on Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:13 PM
Reply to comment


vintage shop on Saturday, August 31, 2019 12:49 AM
I discovered your this post while hunting down some related data on website search...Its a decent post..keep posting and upgrade the data.
Reply to comment


golf swing trainer on Saturday, October 05, 2019 12:10 AM
I am all that much satisfied with the substance you have said. I needed to thank you for this extraordinary article.
Reply to comment


Join on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 6:21 AM
When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks! immyamb4.livejournal.com/profile inprnt.com/profile/lookitup
Reply to comment


check it here on Sunday, October 27, 2019 6:12 AM
I am continually searching for some free stuffs over the web. there are likewise a few organizations which gives free examples.
Reply to comment


iphone replacement parts on Wednesday, November 06, 2019 10:53 AM
Howdy, it turned out to be a great experience for me personally when I visited your web blog. I hope you don't mind if I congratulate you on the excellent quality of your work and to wish you good luck as you grow in the coming months. It was a hoot to surf your internet site and I'll obviously be stopping by again before long to find just how you are growing. Thanks a bunch and hopefully I'll see you here for my next visit - Eren Loftinghousen .
Reply to comment


DP-200 Exam Dumps on Thursday, November 07, 2019 4:32 AM
DumpsOut is a leading IT certifications Dumps provider company. We provides top quality practice Questions for almost 100+ vendors including Cisco, CompTIA, Oracle, HP, Microsoft, juniper, SAP and Symantec etc. We Provides effective preparation source in forms of PDF Practice Questions.
Reply to comment


vivienneswestwoodoutlet.co.uk on Thursday, November 07, 2019 8:13 PM
That gave me an outline I could follow. Certain events in the mystery had to happen on certain days of the disaster.
Reply to comment


Christian Music on Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:36 PM
GOD is good!!!! May GOD keep on bless you in all you do for the peoples. keep up the good work and thing will change for the good in what you do LOVE GENA
Reply to comment


christian music radio free online on Monday, November 18, 2019 1:51 AM
There is such a great amount in this article I would never have considered all alone. Your substance gives perusers things to consider in an intriguing way. Much obliged to you for your unmistakable data.
Reply to comment


augmented reality on websites on Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:17 AM
I discovered your blog website on google and verify a few of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the superb operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Seeking ahead to studying more from you afterward!…
Reply to comment


Rickert on Saturday, November 30, 2019 10:32 AM
Hi there Dear, are you really visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so then you will definitely take fastidious knowledge. Everton Trikot Kinder Stephania Liverpool Trøje Børn SZPConsta ThaliaBul Maglia Hamburger Bambino WalkerGar
Reply to comment


Glasgow on Saturday, November 30, 2019 10:44 AM
Hi there! This article could not be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing! Dortmund Trøje DebbraGod Tottenham Hotspurs Tröja Barn JayMcLart FlorineSt fotballdrakter barn TajHernan
Reply to comment


Crowley on Saturday, November 30, 2019 12:23 PM
Wow, that's what I was exploring for, what a information! existing here at this web site, thanks admin of this web page. Dortmund Drakt Barn ElveraLap fotballdrakter CalvinRos CathernAs England Tröja Barn NereidaNa
Reply to comment


Binford on Saturday, November 30, 2019 12:37 PM
We stumbled over here different page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to going over your web page for a second time. Maglia Chelsea MonroeStr Portugal Tröja Barn AntoniaFz Marianaga Hamburger Drakt AnnDeacon
Reply to comment


Plant on Saturday, November 30, 2019 2:15 PM
I think this is one of the most important info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers Napoli Tröja ThaliaAbe Neues Napoli Trikot LaureneMe TrudySilv fussball trikot PennyMumm
Reply to comment


Distressed Brown Cafe Racer Jacket on Friday, December 06, 2019 1:18 AM
Thanks for sharing this interesting and amazing post with us, I really like this post.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint