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  1. Chelly

    Chelly New Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Likes Received:
    New York


    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chelly, Nov 10, 2008.

    I need a few ways to make up clues to solve a mystery and find ways to divert the main character from her goal (solving the mystery). I'm working on a literary piece about a teen trying to find out what happened to a missing girl and tie it to the guy who did it but it's full of gaps because I don't know how to piece it together with clues. Everything I pick seems too easy or cliche.

    If anybody has a few many ideas or the name of a book that could help me out that would be great.
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Two of Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries immediately come to mind:
    Q is for Quarry
    S is for Silence

    Both are about cold cases involving missing girls, so they may not be quite what you are looking for, but Grafton is good reading for anyone who wants to tackle the mystery genre.

    Your question is very open-ended though. I think you probably need to do a lot more reading so you have more of your own ideas as to where you want to take the story.

    I suggest you don't make the missing girl too much of an innocent, though. Maybe everyone assumes she's a runaway (again?) and your character is one of the few who believes othyerwise.
  3. garmar69

    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

    Jul 25, 2008
    Likes Received:

    In addition to what Cogito said, keep in mind the barriers any teen would have. I don't know how old your teen is, but, there are curfews and school. Adults not taking the MC seriously. Just to name a few.

    Showing these normal, everyday issues will add depth; and your audience will identify with your character more.
  4. Sylvester

    Sylvester Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Likes Received:
    If the guy is a love obsessed stalker who kidnapped the girl, he might buy perfume or flowers she likes. If he doesn't have a girlfriend, it could make the heroine suspicious. If the missing girl is resourceful, she could agree to "marry" her captor, but insist on a fancy wedding. The guy then goes on a burlary spree stealing items to give her that fantasy wedding. Your heroine can thus be distracted by the seeming unrelated burlaries. Then he starts collecting her "Brides Maids"

    A murder. Have something happen before the crime. An SUV similar to that of the suspect is seen in the area a week before the crime. When the girl is reported missing, the sighting is forgotten until later on when somebody makes a comment that triggers a spark. The heroine goes to scene and finds evidence of the crime to possibly implicate the suspect.

    Try different clues. They could be real simple or real complex depending on your target audience. A simple clue can have a big impact, but it has to be found first. A single photo taken years ago posted on a photo site, or dozens or even hundreds of more modern and candid photos of the missing girl. What will get the heroine to view the site?

    Okay, enough rambling. Good luck.

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