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34

A little before Einstein's time, people were saying there's no sense in going into physics, since almost all the questions have already been answered, we understand everything that can be understood, there's only one or two unanswered issues, and those are going to be solved soon. Then came Einstein and his Relativity Theory, and we discovered there's a lot ...


15

is there any room left for not being able to explain odd happenings? Yes, the flip side of high tech detection is high tech concealment. Criminals can know all the tricks used for detection, and have their own high tech to conceal what they've done, or mislead the high tech equipment, or fake the high tech evidence. Or use exactly the same high tech as the ...


13

To contradict the other answers there is a difference between copyright and trademark law. You may want to sell your YA novel to a major publisher or wish to see film & TV rights, merchandising or any ancillary revenue. In that case do not name your character the same as a major TV character. I guarantee they have trademark protection (registered or ...


13

Mystery readers strongly expect the mystery to be resolved. If the mystery isn't the focus of the story, you can avoid rousing (and dashing) mystery readers' expectations of resolution by marketing it as something other than a mystery.


11

One reason is to maintain suspense. A big part of the attraction of the detective genre is for the reader to try to work out for themselves what is happening with varying degrees of assistance from the writer. If written from the perspective of the detective then the reader has access to all their observations, theories, intuitions and suspicions. Having a ...


11

Mystery: According to the dictionary: anything kept secret, unexplained or unknown; a person or thing that arouses curiosity or wonder; the quality of being hidden, hard to understand, or puzzling: When we talk about mystery fiction, it usually means the plot is focused on solving a problem, typically a crime. However, the problem may be simply an ...


11

One way to utilize an unsolved mystery in a non-mystery genre story, is to give each of your main characters a conflicting theory of "who done it". Then let their investigations overlap in ways that challenge and later prove the strength of their friendship, antipathy or love. In such a scenario, the original mystery can remain unsolved as long as each of ...


11

A story should finish what it starts. You control what, exactly, you choose to start. If you're not going to be finishing a murder mystery with a solution, you need to be careful not to set the story up in a way that the story will be unsatisfying without a solution. Let's imagine you've got a mystery you don't want to solve. A few examples: The point is ...


10

Up front, I must say "I am not a lawyer." Heed the advice given above and consult a lawyer specializing in copyright law. That said, it seems clear to me right now that publishing in the UK should be fine, but you could open yourself to a legal challenge from the Conan Doyle estate if you publish your work in the United States and do not contact the estate ...


8

You need to make the mistake understandable. One way to do this is to make the falsly accused victim look guilty enough for people to believe the mistake. He could be framed in such a way readers would know what really happened, but the detective not. Or you could give the victim a reason to want to go to jail, so he will confess. Maybe he is threathened, ...


8

These are examples of mystery stories where things are told from the protagonist's point of view. See this link for more, I've cut pasted the pertinent information below. 1st person, narrator is the detective Philip Marlowe books by Raymond Chandler The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee ...


7

I think you can vary the structure depending on the story. By way of example, mystery writer Jennifer Moss splits her descriptions: of her three novels and one short story, two start with the detective, Ryan Doherty, and two start with the crime. For example, the first one starts with the detective, and segues into the case: After his partner is killed ...


6

Be very careful with this. A new writer submitted such a story to my writer's group. The main character, referred to as "she," took a drink, picked up her trunk, and a few other things. In the end we discover she is an elephant. The writer's intention was to amuse us by exposing our assumptions. Unfortunately, not a single one of the half dozen ...


6

I see others missing the problem the clue is an elephant in the room. They hint on hiding various subtle clues. The problem is this is not a subtle clue. Missing this clue would totally break suspension of disbelief. It's far too obvious. It must be hidden in the plain sight. What you need here is misdirection. Unintentional, accidental event that changes ...


6

You may want to refer to the answers here: Are Names of Characters Copyrighted by Authors? In a nutshell, you can safely write about an alien bounty hunter called Harry Potter who has no magical powers and travels the galaxy in a spaceship called the Enterprise. This is the short and generic answer since copyright law is very complicated. Here is another ...


6

Think of your objects first. Sit down and brainstorm a bunch of things. Things which can be hidden reasonably well in a school. Things which might have thematic links to your characters, things which can advance the plot or character development, things which might be funny. You won't use all the things, but having a list will help. Once you have your list,...


6

Arthur C. Clarke wrote: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced ...


6

Can you do it? Sure. As opposed to what? Do you think the Mystery Novel Police will arrest you for breaking the rules of the genre? The question is not, "Am I allowed to do this?", but "Does it make a good story?" If the answer to the second question is "yes", then do it. If as you write this story you discover that it's not working, that the story is ...


6

Are major mystery subplot(s) in a fantasy story distracting or make a story more appealing? More appealing. Here is an examination of the structures of Harry Potter that concludes the first four books, and the sixth, are all structured as mystery stories, wrapped in fantasy. The first four books of the series are definitely the mystery stories he’s [another ...


5

Is it POSSIBLE? Of course. You just write the story with that ending. "Is it a good idea?" is a more realistic question. Most fiction stories have a neat, happy ending: The lovers get married and live happily ever after. The adventurer finds the lost treasure. The criminal is caught. Etc. But not necessarily. Romeo and Juliet do not live happily ever after....


5

There is a balance between maintaining point of view, and maintaining suspense, which can crop up whenever your protagonist or your POV (point-of-view) character is planning ahead in any detail. The difficulty is this: If in your story your POV character is making plans and preparations, and then afterwards he puts those plans and preparations into action, ...


5

Check out Dean Wesley Smith's blog posts on "Pulp Speed" writing, and the number of words possible for some people. A million words a year? Wow. Heck, Michael Moorcock can write a 60K word novel in three days. The use of Lester Dent's Master Plot is blown out from 1500 words per section to 15K words per section, IIRC, and planning is key. NaNoWriMo says to ...


5

I want to say something about the Relationship between SUSPENSE and TENSION; as a subjective opinion: I remember my parents watching the movie Changeling (1980) when I was in elementary school. I was so much curious about what was going on in that haunted house and who was that ghost called Joseph why he was trying to contact the lead character; and I ...


5

Have multiple suspects. Introduce a variety of characters who all have a motive and the means to commit the murder. Have everyone act suspicious. When everyone is honest except the murderer, it will be obvious who done it. That means that other suspects also need a reason to do suspicious things, like lying to the detective, making evidence disappear, ...


5

There's a concept that I'm rather fond of regarding story resolution called "promises to the reader" The idea is that every story promises things to the readers, and failing to fulfill those promises will leave the readers unsatisfied. These promises come from a variety of places - the title, the genre, the events of the book, etc, and while readers may not ...


5

The great thing about writing science-fiction is that we don't have to focus on the mundane 99.9% of universes where the unexplainable event didn't happen because of the vanishingly low probability. Instead, we can explore the one unique, improbable universe where it did happen, and then work from there. No matter how unlikely, there is always a possibility ...


5

Technology today is obviously far more advanced than the technology of 500 years ago. And yet there are still plenty of mysteries today. We still have plenty of mysteries about individual people and events, like "what happened to Jimmy Hoffa?", or all the thousands of unsolved crimes. Indeed, just recently I read an article that said, I forget the ...


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