This Article is About
agatha christie
red herrings
suspense novel
john grisham
Want To Write A Murder Mystery Novel?
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Want to Write A Murder Mystery Novel?

Do you want to write a murder mystery novel? Of course you do! Why? Because murder mystery novels are some of the most loved, bestselling books on the market, that's why! Think of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, John Grisham and Dennis Lehane. Would you like to add your name to that list?

You can, but doing so will take a bit of ingenuity on your part. A murder mystery is different from other types of novels because you're not just writing a story. You're writing a story that not only leaves the most important fact, the identity of the killer, to the very end, but also has to lead your reader down a few false leads to keep them hooked. Those false leads are called "red herrings," and they are the stock-in-trade of all good mystery writers. When it comes to murder mystery novels, no one wants to be led directly from point A (the murder) to point B (catching the killer). You need events that mislead the reader and keeps them guessing. That's what makes them turn the next page.

To do that, you need a cast of characters. You need your hero/ine (the one trying to uncover the killer), you need your villain (the killer), and you need a group of suspects. Your suspects are the source of your red herrings, because each needs to have either the motivation or the opportunity to commit the crime, but they can't all have done it. (That is, unless you're a master mystery writer, like Agatha Christie.) Your reader needs to be kept in the dark, wondering "Was it the secretary? Or, what about the business partner with the huge gambling debts?" If they're not wondering which of the suspects did it, there will be no wonder when they stop reading and put the book down.

Each murder mystery novel is a puzzle, one that needs to be solved first by you, then by your hero/ine, and lastly, by your reader. A murder mystery is different from a suspense novel. A good murder mystery will contain elements of suspense in it, but it differs in structure from a suspense novel. In a suspense novel, it is possible to reveal who the bad guy is half-way or two-thirds through the book, because knowing who the antagonist is can increase the suspense of what they're going to do and how your hero/ine will escape and triumph. A murder mystery, on the other hand, needs to disguise the identity of the killer until the very end, the climax of the story, when your hero/ine unmasks the criminal, and they are brought to justice.

So, do away with your victim (in your story), gather your cast of characters, craft your clues, plant your seat in your chair, and write that murder mystery novel!


Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Agatha Christie And Torquay
Agatha Christie is considered to be one of the worlds finest crime writers ever to have graced this earth and according to the Guiness Book of Records the best selling novelist of all time. Agatha Christie was born in Torquay on the 15th September 1890 and made her birthplace the…
By: Jake Hunter in  Travel and Leisure  >  Destination Tips   Feb 16, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

What Makes Torquay Famous
Torquay is famous for many things, including its award winning hotels and beaches, its mild all year climateand the cult tv show Fawlty Towers. Another reason for the towns popularity is down to the interest in Agatha Christie and her works. The town yearly celebrates their most famous export by…
By: Jake Hunter in  Travel and Leisure  >  Destination Tips   Jun 09, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

Writer Development Activity ā€“ Reading Part 2
In this second of a two-part article on reading as a development activity for developing writers, I am going to suggest reading the work of various authors from previous eras just as I did in the other article of the pair. In this instance, however, I am going to focus…
By: Christine Lebednik in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Jan 14, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

E Book Readers: Is there A Place for Them In the Science Classroom?
I've recently acquired an e-book reader, a Kindle actually, and now I have one I wonder how I ever survived without it. I am an avid reader. I'm also one of those sad gits who re-reads novels, most especially Agatha Christie novels. And yes, becuase she wrote 70+ of them,…
By: Col Harrison in  Reference and Education  >  Science   May 10, 2011  
1
  Likes: 1

Which Country Will Suit Me for Study In?
Studying abroad has become popular and trending among UK students along with so many options that each country is offering better opportunities and number one degree in specific fields. Studying internationally pleas number of reasons like chance and opportunity to learn second language, abroad studying will add a remarkable addition…
By: Lisa Sthalekar in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   May 28, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Why You Should Use A Rewording Tool
Rewriting is amazingly helpful for everyone who needs flawless quality of their writing. You might need it every time you get into a business conversation, write an essay for the strictest teacher in your college, writing a coursework or when you are filling some important documents which not allow any…
By: Gretta Lu in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   May 12, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Why You Should Use A Rewording Tool
Rewriting is amazingly helpful for everyone who needs flawless quality of their writing. You might need it every time you get into a business conversation, write an essay for the strictest teacher in your college, writing a coursework or when you are filling some important documents which not allow any…
By: Gretta Lu in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   May 12, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Essay Writing Task Can Be Enjoyable With 4 Incredible Tips
To draft out an excellent essay, it is crucial for you to enjoy this task. Writing any document could be tedious for college students. However, we know how to transform the waves of boredom into pleasure. Stop worrying about your essay writing errand, as through this post you will understand…
By: Alfonzo Nelson in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Apr 11, 2016  
1
  Likes: 0

Have You Lost the Hope to Deal With Naysayers? 3 Quick Tips to Help You Tackle Them!
What made you read this post? Are you flanked with the people who consistently discourage you from achieving something you wish? Every one of us is bound to encounter naysayers at some point in life. It could be your uncle living next door, who visits your dwelling & criticize your…
By: Josh Barett in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 30, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

3 Reasons Why Students Must Not Avoid Assignment Writing
Several students must have had prayed at least once in their academic career - that assignments & homework must be banned. Did you ever? We know it is a yes! So, when we enter the educational milieu, we invariably suffer from uncontrollable waves of assignments, homework, projects and varied coursework…
By: Johnnoels in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 29, 2016  
1
  Likes: 0

5 Things You Must Never Do While Writing A Dissertation on Human Resource Management!
Dear mind, please stop running too much. Iā€™m feeling stressful and gravely pressured from the task of writing an HR dissertation. I need some time to relax! Is it what going in your mind? I understand your concern, but your thesis writing task is a clear road towards a successful…
By: Johnnoels in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 26, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Should You Choose A Media Dissertation Topic From Online Sources?
Dissertation is the chief constituent of any doctoral degree, and when it comes to writing it, the most interesting topics are related with Media. There are many factors that have made Media dissertation such a popular choice among scholars. Though the subject is compelling enough, there are some problems that…
By: Olivia James in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 19, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Importance Of Discipline In Dissertation Writing
Discipline is the most sought after virtue in a learner; that is why, there is prevalence of stringent rules in academic institutions. The most important role that discipline plays is that of bringing more focus to the way of learning of the students. Dissertation being a lengthier assignment spread over…
By: Josh Barett in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 17, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

10 Perfect Job Options for Creative Writers
Do you have a strong knack for art and writing? If so, land in one of these tedious but rewarding jobs! 1. Article writer If you are good at writing news stories, features, or instructional pieces, then this post is for you. With your creative thinking and research skills, you…
By: Lynda McWilson in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 16, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Simplify Assignment Editing With the Help Of 3 Simple Steps
The primary purpose of an assignment is to see how much you have learned about a certain topic. An assignment can only be as good as the sources which you have used to write it. You can start once you have ensured that you have collected the best and most…
By: Johnnoels in  Writing and Speaking  >  Writing   Mar 05, 2016  
0
  Likes: 1

Article Views: 1482    Report this Article