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

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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.

WRITING IN RHYTHM


            Call it flow, pacing, or movement—your scenes, chapters, paragraphs, and sentences should be varied in length and technique. As a musician, I prefer to call it rhythm.

            Short, choppy sentences and fragments add tension to a scene. In real life, sentences tend to grow shorter as we become more upset. We speak in fragments, sometimes uttering single words at a time. Especially when used in dialogue, this can add a sense of reality to a scene.

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.

WHO IS MISSY JENKINS?


Death in 3/4 Time

The second book in the Missy Jenkins musical mystery series, "Death in 3/4 Time," takes place in December of 1979. The following excerpt is from Chapter One:
     The sparkle of ice on the bedroom window softened the deep blue of the winter night. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Two a.m. With her husband on a business trip and her teenagers spending the night with friends, this was her opportunity to indulge her secret passion for ballroom dance.
     Taking a deep breath, she inhaled the cool, clean pine scent of the Christmas garland looped around the upstairs bannister.

IT'S PUBLISHED!

The first novel in the Missy Jenkins mystery series, TERROR IN DOUBLE TIME, is finally published on Amazon, Kindle and in print version. Look it up by title at either the Amazon or Kindle sites to buy it, or for a signed book, email me atmissymysteries@hotmail.comand I'll send an order form.
I'm especially excited about the cover photo because it's a snapshot I took in 1978 before the Three Mile Island accident. I was driving up the same stretch of road that I describe in Chapter One of the book, when I thought, "What an awesome view" and stopped the car to take that picture.
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