1. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    How to write a Mystery

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ObsidianVale, Jul 12, 2009.

    i have read over the years alot of fantasies and alot of romance. So when it comes to writing one i feel familiar with the genre. Now im writing a fantasy but i also want to add in a little mystery ( like murder mystery , but not the psycho killer out to get you type, more the decetive sherlocks type) but i am not very well verse in the mystery genre. So i've tried to read mystery novels to familiarize my self but some times i can't get past the first page. I don't know why but for some reason pure mystery novels or even films kinda put me to sleep. that or they completely freak me out. anyway i was wondering if anyone had any ideas or tips as to how to add mystery to a novel and be effective with it even though it's not really your cup of tea. ( so to speak) ( other then just practice i mean are there any tricks to making a good mysteries).
     
  2. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    If you don't like them or enjoy them, why write them? Try out some Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes or Harry Dresden and if you don't enjoy them again, then maybe you should rethink that addition to your plot.
     
  3. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    They're called "whodunnits". (Seriously.)

    I don't write them myself, but I do enjoy them on occasion. I've always assumed you kinda start by figuring out the crime and then plan it all out backwards.

    Acglaphotis has a point though. If you don't enjoy reading or watching these stories, you probably won't enjoy writing one.
     
  4. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    i do enjoy a good mystery it's just sometimes i find that they can be a little repetative. Like the one you lease suspect or seems the most innocent is usually the one who did it. ( not in all cases mind you but ya) plus i like stories that are a little bit off everything. Mysteries are usually focused on welll.... the mystery.
     
  5. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    I always thought the charm of the whodunnit genre was less about who did it (ironically) and more about how: That "Oh, I see!" reaction you get at the end when the detective goes through all the clues and explains how it all happened.

    Sure, it's repetitive, but it's a highly specialized genre with rather limiting conventions.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to repeat what acgla had to say...

    if you don't like mysteries and are not prepared to read enough of the good ones to learn how they're written/constructed, then it's foolish to consider writing one...
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    If you're serious about it, you should read several.

    There's a pretty nice list of selections on wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mystery_novels

    I also recommend the book, "How to Write a Damn Good Mystery" by Frey.

    I personally enjoy mysteries, but prefer thriller novels with elements of mystery in them.

    Glancing over Wikipedia's list, "Interpretation of a Murder" by Jed Rubenfeld was a great book.

    There's the "Da Vinci Code" of course (which I loved, no matter what the many Dan Brown naysayers on this site say.)

    Agatha Christie's and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books, are of course, classics in the genre. I've read several of those as well. Then of course, there's Poe, an all-time favorite in mystery and in horror.

    I also found this URL which claims to list the "100 best mysteries of all time."

    http://www.metafilter.com/67105/The-100-best-mystery-novels-of-all-time

    The "Maltese Falcon" was certainly a terrific book, and a classic in the genre. I'd almost call that one a "must-read" for anyone interested in crime/detective/mystery novels. There's Puzo's "Godfather," of course. John Grisham's "The Firm" is listed... I've read a number of his books, I love Grisham. (The only problem I have with Grisham is, I can only read so many books about lawyers, so I have to take him in small doses. One of his novels a year is more than enough for me.)

    I've read a number of the books on the list, many of them I liked. Some of the books on the list, though, I didn't realize were considered "mysteries." Many of them strike me as much "thriller novels" as mysteries, but of course, genres do cross.

    (I'm also going to have to revisit these lists. It looks like there are some good reads that I haven't read yet, and will look forward to reading!)

    Charlie
     

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