Questions tagged [mystery]

Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot!

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I want to write a scenario where the main culprit is controlling someone to commit crimes

I want to write a story where the main culprit is controlling someone to commit crimes. Is there any way like medicine or psychology to control someone?
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1 vote
1 answer
102 views

Cleaning up a crime scene and its evidence

If a crime scene is cleaned up well, what possible evidence would still be found if they managed somehow to clean up the blood, discard the murder weapon, and hide the body? Is it possible for a ...
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4 votes
6 answers
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How can I make my story's worldbuilding magical but not too far from realistic?

I was trying to do the world building first since I have lots of decisions that I can't make when I'm creating a character. I'm not sure whether to make it all magical or realistic. I want both. ...
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2 votes
3 answers
148 views

How am I supposed to use bad luck as a disadvantage?

So when I was thinking of a character, I tried my best to not make them a Mary Sue. We all know Mary Sue is the number one horrible character. As such I came up with ideas of characters that I can ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How do you decide to include a character if you have other characters similar to them? Or when they feel not complete or appropriate for the story?

I had an idea for 2 siblings, an older brother and a younger sibling. The older one is a somewhat arrogant man, but loves his younger sibling. The younger sibling has a puppet that talks to them or ...
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16 votes
5 answers
4k views

How many red herrings is too many red herrings?

Mystery novel with a cast of five suspects. The plot moves from red herring to red herring, making the reader suspect each of the five characters at least once. In principle, one could go in circles ...
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1 vote
2 answers
77 views

In a Mystery, what are some internal and external goals apart from the main goal of catching the villain?

For the sleuth, I'm having some problems brainstorming some internal and external goals apart from the main goal of catching the culprit or villain. I understand that both internal and external goals ...
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1 answer
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Creative control

I'm thinking about traditionally publishing my work. I have a few uncertainties/questions regarding creative control. I'm fine with editors influencing my character's names, book titles, and book ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is it acceptable to have a subplot run out of sync with the main plot by a few days?

Is it acceptable to have a subplot run out of sync in front of the main plot by a couple of days and hide that fact from the reader until near the end, where it then becomes synced with the main plot? ...
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  • 55
0 votes
3 answers
93 views

Why would a someone desecrate a pharaoh's tomb? [closed]

I'm trying to find a believable reason for someone to open a clearly cursed tomb for my short story. I'm finding myself between the silly-but-different and believable-but-boring spectrum. For example, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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What is the ideal word count when shopping a mystery novel to agents?

I know for certain genres, agents and publishers will only consider manuscripts that fit within their expected page count ranges. What's a good target for a standalone mystery novel? My current draft ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Do scenes, sequels, and MRUs apply to mystery novels?

I'm in the process of writing a mystery novel/novella and it conforms to the traditional/classic mystery novel, emulating that of Agatha Christie or A.C. Doyle. I'm having doubts as to the proper way ...
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3 votes
3 answers
241 views

Are major mystery subplot(s) in a fantasy story distracting or do they make a story more appealing?

Is it too distracting to include a major mystery subplot(s) in a fantasy story? I mean a complete subplot or subplots that the character solves. Perhaps the examples below do not qualify as mystery ...
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3 votes
4 answers
186 views

Female Detective [closed]

I want to write a female detective murder mystery. I have 15 characters; 14 women and 1 man. I want the male to be the secretary for the, Cavalcade Detective Agency. He is well educated, charming, and ...
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7 votes
3 answers
191 views

Can a mystery novel have more than one mystery in it? And does it have to be a "who dunnit" concept?

I am writing a novel and it goes something like this: In the first half of the novel, the protagonist knows who is doing the killing, but they are trying to make sense of it as in "how are they doing ...
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9 votes
14 answers
4k views

The role of inexplicable events in hard science fiction

The modern world has few true mysteries, among them the fate of the Roanoke colonists and the crew of the Mary Celeste but do such happenings have a place in futuristic settings? In settings with ...
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7 votes
2 answers
221 views

In a branching mystery, should branches be "self-correcting" or follow the impulse of the reader?

A mystery with 3 subplots I'm writing a branching mystery novel. It's more Raymond Chandler than Agatha Christie: the mystery is a driver-of-plot rather than a puzzle for the reader to solve. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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I want to know if this opening is appropriate for my story or if this is confusing? [closed]

Night, when words fade and things come alive. The leaves murmured as the cool winter breeze gushed through them, Grime Street was illuminated by an old lamp that flared to follow the light. Unsure ...
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4 votes
6 answers
724 views

How to make the murder's identity less obvious, or make the obviousness not matter?

I'm writing a short story following the first person perspective of the MC, who is a young, male writer of horror stories. He goes on a cruise with his girlfriend and their friends, and, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
125 views

I’m considering adding a flashback to my script. Are they so bad?

I know that some people say flashbacks are to be frowned upon. But I’m in a situation where I feel a flashback could maybe be more effective. It’s a crime/drama/mystery. Basically, Greg has gone ...
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12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Should mystery stories have resolutions?

I'm working on the finishing touches of a story that has as part of the plot a possibly-supernatural mystery. I'm feeling rather nervous about the whole thing though because said mystery isn't the ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
186 views

Writing a compelling murder mystery [closed]

Just like the topic says. How do I make it so that the identity of the 'murderer' isn't a dead give-away?
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10 votes
7 answers
14k views

What is the difference between Tension, Suspense and Mystery?

Can you define the differences between Tension, Suspense and Mystery in fiction writing? Some resources says tension is how much you care about a character but I cannot imagine how it is possible ...
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5 votes
1 answer
614 views

Creating clues for a mystery subplot

I am working on a story in which the characters must solve a mystery. It's a "team-building exercise" at school, in which they must work together. They are graded on how well they work together and ...
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15 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why aren't detective stories written in the protagonist's POV?

I've noticed that successful detective stories are, nearly always, not written in the point of view of the detective himself. The protagonist (i.e. the ingenious detective at the heart of the story) ...
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3 votes
4 answers
142 views

Introducing a plot-critical hallucinogen partway through a mystery?

This is a sort of act related question. I have an important drug that causes the protagonist to encounter people and things he normally wouldn't, and it is the foundation of a convoluted plan by the ...
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6 votes
4 answers
14k views

Help! I accidentally gave my fictional character the same name as a fictional character on a TV show. Do I have to change it?

I've been writing a YA mystery book in which one of the three main characters is a detective—who now seems to share his name with another fictional character on TV. I was pretty young when I came up ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
131 views

How do you give the murderer away? [closed]

'There once was a popular soap opera staged in the southern, modern capital of Imaso in Europe. It had run for 50 years and over time produced new characters; some viewers liked them, but other ...
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4 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to hide something in plain sight (and keep it hidden)?

I’d like to include in a story “mysteries” and deceptions that (ideally) should be obvious in hindsight (By obvious, I mean "elephant in the room" kind of obvious). How to give to the reader every ...
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6 votes
6 answers
460 views

Is it possible to write about failed detective novel?

All detective novel ends with the killer caught, right? Is it possible to write a completely bad ending detective novel? Imagine the Titanic of Sherlock Holmes, or is it done yet? By Titanic I mean ...
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  • 759
-1 votes
1 answer
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how much pages do i have for a paperback book [duplicate]

I'm making a book and I already wrote 54,099 and 278,889 characters how much pages do I have for a paper back or hard back book
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9 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to make a dumb decision as a character and still not let the reader to think same about him?

My character is a police detective. But not the best one. I'm trying to stay away from idealizations in this book. Characters will make normal, human, mistakes; they'll change their minds and be more ...
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  • 573
5 votes
5 answers
346 views

Is trying to write an entire novel in one month possible?

Lately I've been thinking about trying to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the idea (at least I think it is) to write an entire novel in one month. Is this even possible?
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4 votes
4 answers
275 views

Should my query lead with the detective, or with the crime?

In a lot of detective or mystery novels, the detective is the POV character and the protagonist, but the initial hook has little to do with him. Some crime has been committed, and the detective is ...
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3 votes
2 answers
357 views

Hiding information

I have often noticed this in many books and movies (mostly mysteries) that information is kept hidden from the reader. Like the character goes to some place and returns but what happens in between ...
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  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Sherlock Holmes public domain for use in a story?

I am writing a short story and would like to name check Sherlock Holmes as a character; according to the ever reliable (?) Wikipedia the stories of Holmes are UK Public Domain. Does this mean I can ...
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  • 183
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

How can I keep my characters' identities a mystery successfully?

There was a similar post about keeping a character nameless in order to contribute to his closed off personality. My concern is is keeping all my characters nameless, only describing their actions (...
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5 votes
2 answers
150 views

Logical conclusions of deduction

If my character had seen all that he had seen, is it possible that a person of sufficient intellect could draw the conclusions that he has, or am I just handing him answers and giving him "magic ...
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6 votes
3 answers
646 views

Should the secret antagonist have dual goals set in the ending of Act I?

Okay, There's this antagonist in my plot who is supposed to secretly frame my protagonist (due to some undecided reasons) and also help him publicly to cover his tracks. And since I'm working with the ...
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Preventing genre-savvy second-guessing in murder mysteries

In a murder mystery, most of the story is generally focused on figuring out who the murderer is; in "Fair-Play" mysteries, it's assumed the murderer is a significant character in the book, and the fun ...
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  • 28k
19 votes
9 answers
6k views

Resources on plotting mystery stories

I'm looking for books, essays and articles on plotting mystery/detective/investigation stories (and novels). The type of story I'm aiming for is in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, or ...
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