Missy Jenkins Musical Mysteries - Mystery, Music and Murder!
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THE TWIST ENDING
THE USUAL SUSPECTS: WHAT'S THEIR MOTIVE?
PLOTTING A MYSTERY, part two
PLOTTING A MYSTERY
Who is Missy Jenkins?

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Missy Jenkins mysteries

THE TWIST ENDING

Remember that a good plot twist can't be thrown in at the end just to fool the reader. You have to play fair. When readers look back, they should be able to see all the clues and realize that everything fits into place. With a perfect twist ending, the reader ought to smack their forehead and say, "Wow, what a great ending! I should have seem that coming."
     If you kept the reader guessing until the final confrontation, your twist was exceptional. Here are some tips to help achieve that goal:

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.

PLOTTING A MYSTERY, part two

PLOTTING A MYSTERY, PART TWO: PLANTING CLUES AND RED HERRINGS
   There are several techniques to use for dropping clues and hiding secrets. You can divert attention from a clue with an action or a joke; you can drop clues in dreams; you can hide clues in lists of interesting things; or you can use dialogue for misdirection.
  1. Distract the reader withaction. J.K. Rowling does this at the beginning ofHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanwith Scabbers the rat; he's mentioned as being old and missing a toe and the shopkeeper notes that an ordinary rat shouldn't live more than three years.

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

Who is Missy Jenkins?

Write your post here.

ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?


ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

What does that mean? To a writer, it describes how you go about your writing process.

A “plotter” means that the writer starts by making an outline before the first sentence of the novel is written. She knows how the story starts, where it’s going and she knows the ending. She knows every character, what they’re going to do, where they’re going and when. Sure, once and a while she might change her mind and stray from her outline—she’s not inflexible, after all—but there will still be a revised outline and a clear ending in mind.

Meet Missy Jenkins

Missy Jenkins is a piano teacher who lives in the small community of Twin Pines, located on the outskirts of Middletown, Pennsylvania. She is in her thirties, married to a construction worker and has two young boys. The Missy Jenkins musical mystery series is set during the late 1970s so the music that weaves throughout the series includes disco, rock and classical themes. Missy teaches her students, and her readers, bits of musical history and trivia along the way.
Every protagonist needs strengths and weaknesses, and for Missy, her character strengths are also the flaws that get her into trouble.
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