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

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: WHAT'S THEIR MOTIVE?

Every mystery is filled with the usual suspects to keep the reader guessing "whodunit" until the end. Have at least four characters in your novel who have possible motives to commit the crime. They will be hiding secrets, lying to your protagonist, and acting suspiciously throughout the book; they each may have a reason to want the victim dead. But only one is lying about being the killer. Your job as the author is to trick the reader into believing right up until the final disclosure--that any one of those suspects could be guilty. Here are some ways to do that:
  1. Motives - Your usual suspects should all have different plausible reasons to want to see the victim dead. For example, the wife who's having an affair and wants to cash in on the insurance money. (Sure, it's cliché, but as one of my favorite TV cops likes to say, "It's always the wife, it's always the wife...") Or, a long-lost illegitimate son who was rejected when he tried to reconnect with his father. Or, a business partner who was caught embezzling the company's funds. You get the picture--the possibilities are yours to create.
  2. Organize your clues - Write down those reasons and connect them to the victim in some sort of chart, or list, or whatever method works best for you. Now your suspects are lined up, including the one you know is guilty. You have at least four different ways the crime might have happened. That also gives you several different paths for your sleuth to follow, secrets to uncover, blind alleys to blunder into, then finally, to find her way to the real killer. It helps to really know your characters and their secrets. Write a bio of each suspect, why they want the victim dead, what they're lying about or hiding, so that you can plant clues about them along the way.
  3. Misdirection - Like a magician, a mystery writer uses misdirection and red herrings to lead the reader astray. Suspect #1 must have done it; then you're sure it was suspect #3; oh no, it can't be him, suspect #4 is the logical culprit, but then suddenly she's the next victim! And so it goes until the end. Agatha Christie was the best at keeping us guessing and she always came up with a new twist at the end.
  4. Lies - Have your characters lie: to your sleuth, to the police, to each other. All your suspects have their secrets, so they all have their reasons to lie. It makes them real, too. We all keep secrets, we all lie sometimes, but often small things can be misinterpreted. Everyone is lying, but only one is lying about being a murderer.
  5. Dialogue - Use dialogue to show motive. As characters speak, they reveal their true personalities. The action tags and movements show the characters' emotions as they carry on a conversation, and how they react to the other people. All these things can give the reader subtle hints and clues about each character.
Always remember - each one of your "usual suspects" should have a solid motive so that the reader can believe, right up to the end, any one of them could be the killer!

Coming soon - PART FOUR: BUILDING SUSPENSE


15 Comments to THE USUAL SUSPECTS: WHAT'S THEIR MOTIVE?:

Comments RSS
example of outline about global warming on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 4:44 AM
Write a good thriller may be a very difficult task. I want to say a big thanks for sharing with us this informative post. I like your writing style. I will definitely use your advice to make my writings better.
Reply to comment
 
online essay service on Saturday, August 31, 2019 7:29 PM
From I learned from the movie "The Usual Suspects" the obvious suspect is not the one. Look for the Keyzer Soze of the bunch and start from there. The one who shows obvious signs of not being incapable of committing a crime might not be the true culprit most of the time. How many murders have been committed by a husband or wife against their spouse? Police detectives will go through the usual suspects like robbers, a colleague who has a grudge, etc. But there are many cases where the mastermind turned out to be the closest person to the victim - the husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.


things to do on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 3:43 AM
wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
Reply to comment


essays reviews on Thursday, August 01, 2019 9:29 AM
The coding paper was one of the toughest paper for me while in a graduate time. I really hard work on it and now am comfortable with the medium. Now I can deal with various language and coding platforms.
Reply to comment


help with assignment on Monday, August 05, 2019 4:19 AM
Kevin Spacey and Stephen Baldwin in The Usual Suspects (1995) Bryan Singer in The ... also, a veteran, chase a sequential executioner who uses the seven dangerous sins as his thought processes. .... In this present reality where nothing is the thing that it appears you must look past.
Reply to comment


Sammy on Friday, August 09, 2019 11:40 PM
This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article. product boxes
Reply to comment


Wanda D. Carney on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 2:30 AM
As a leader, you need to identify and focus on the inner strengths of the business. That is the root of any business. Imagine the business as a tree which will grow with time and give fruits For More Information Visit.
Reply to comment


hypothesis of a dissertation on Monday, August 19, 2019 2:51 AM
Wow! This is really nice piece of advice. I like that you are presenting your ideas in a proper form. I wish you good luck in this investigation. I hope I will understand their motive of crime.
Reply to comment


cheap mens polo shirts on Friday, August 30, 2019 7:07 AM
I recently noticed your Hostgator coupon website back i are generally looking through which on a daily basis.
Reply to comment


Suzanne Flaig on Saturday, September 07, 2019 12:24 PM
Thanks to all who read my blog and made helpful and pertinent replies. The final installment of Plotting a Mystery, is "The Twist Ending." Watch for it today!
Reply to comment


how many levels in toon blast on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 11:51 PM
We do not promote illegal methods in our article. Instead of focusing on a small game and discovering strategic tips that are useful for beginners and professional players.
Reply to comment


ben on Monday, September 30, 2019 7:17 AM
thanks
Reply to comment


iot security on Sunday, October 06, 2019 4:22 AM
This is a shrewd online journal. I would not joke about this. You have such a great amount of information about this issue, thus much energy. You likewise know how to make individuals rally behind it, clearly from the reactions.
Reply to comment


cheap vivienne westwood on Thursday, November 07, 2019 8:05 PM
Vivienne Westwood Anglomania available to buy online, a wide collection of mens and womens jeans and tops and also fab cut dresses and tops.
Reply to comment


badass khajiit names on Friday, November 08, 2019 2:43 AM
These appearances can vary greatly from breed to breed, with some Khajiits resembling the domestic cat and others Khajiits resembling large bipolar jaguars
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