How to Write a Mystery Story Step By Step

Mystery! We’ve all wondered how to write a mystery story. Mystery is one of the hardest and one of the most interesting genres to write. It is very similar to the thriller genre, but there are several distinctions that make it completely different. We’ll get into that later though. For now, enjoy reading everything you’ll need to know about writing mystery.

Read Mystery Novels

To become a very good mystery writer it’s important to understand the genre. Reading lots in it is the best way to do that. Find every single one that you can get your hands on and read them. When you start reading these novels, note everything about them you can.

It’s important to pay attention to the style, the crimes, and the reveals. Doing so will make it easier for you to refine your own skills in writing mystery and make your stories sound even more thought out. All from simply paying attention to other mysteries.

Create Your Detective

Your detective will be one of the main characters of the story. It’s their job to solve the mystery and determine who perpetrated the crime. Without them, the whole story would begin and end at the discovery of the mystery. But what should a detective be like?

well, first off, a detective doesn’t have to be a cop. They could be a businessman, a kid, a schoolteacher, anything really, they’re just the person searching for answers. It’s best to give them a personal connection to the mystery. This gives them a reason to try and solve the mystery.

determine the Setting

What time do you want the mystery to happen? It’s a very important question to ask yourself. If the mystery happens in the 21st century, things will be very different than if it happens in the 19th century. That’s why, when choosing when it’s important to think it over very carefully before making any decisions. To chose one time period over another will mean that certain things are unavailable to be used in the story.

The same concepts go towards choosing where. If your mystery is set in a small town, more people will know each other. If your mystery is set in a big city, less people will know each other. This can have different advantages and disadvantages. That’s why it’s important to think very carefully before choosing when as well.

Create the Puzzle or Mystery

One of the biggest parts of a mystery story is the mystery or puzzle. The issue is actually coming up with the mystery or puzzle. It can take quite a while, so the best way is to think about things that you’ve actually witnessed or puzzles you’ve seen that can inspire your mystery.

Once you think of one, expand on it until it fits the scale of what you’re planning for your story. It wouldn’t do any good to plan for there to be a murder to solve, someone’s found dead, clues are found, and culprit is caught. Add more to it. Maybe with every murder victim they have short blonde hair, and use that as a clue and question mark in and of itself.

Decide How You’re Going to to Complicate the Mystery

A mystery is sure to be full of complications that will make your head spin. They are important to make it feel like a real mystery is taking place, because when there are real mysteries, the answers are quite usually complex to find.

You don’t need to complicate everything though, otherwise it’ll begin to feel like you’ve eaten too much on a holiday. The key is to find a happy medium. Something that does complicate it shouldn’t be forced in and also shouldn’t be teetering on.

Use Cliffhangers to Keep the Story Entertaining

Cliffhangers are a tool writers use to keep reader attention while they build up to the next chapter. It could be something as simple as a twist ending, or someone falling off a cliff before the next chapter starts. These type of scenarios keep people turning pages in any story they read, and that’s why you must use them to you advantage in mystery stories.

The whole idea of a mystery is to keep people turning pages and reading on to find out whodunit and satisfy their curiosity. As the writer, you don’t want to give away your biggest card, whodunit, until the very end, so to keep readers satisfied you must become adept at the art of revealing enough about the mystery for it to shock people and get them reading more, without giving anything too big that could clue people in away.

Create a Resolution

A story does need to have an ending, and writing a mystery means you’d better have a good one planned, otherwise people will not be happy with you for stringing them on. They’ll be upset. They’ve been expecting some big reveal and resolution to the story that is boring or just plain rotten.

That’s why you have to end it with a bang and tie everything up in a nice little bow so that the mystery is solved, everyone ends up happy, and the day is saved.

Understanding the Difference Between Mystery and Thrillers

In a mystery story, the reader doesn’t know who committed the murder until the detective does at the end. Mysteries are also focussed on finding the premise of finding the motivations of the one who committed the crime or gave the puzzle.

Mysteries are almost always written in the 1st person, while thrillers are written mostly in the third, alternating between different characters points of view. Mysteries are also much slower in terms of pace than thrillers. There are more action sequences in thrillers.

Because mysteries are slower paced than thrillers, their characters tend to be more built up.

I hope this article how to write a mystery story has helped you and guided you in the way you needed to be guided. Make sure to remember, enjoy your writing.