Writing The Kind-Of-Not-Quite-Perfect Murder Mystery

My first (and possibly only) attempt at writing a murder mystery was… educational, to say the least. Here are a few things I learnt along the way.

  1. You will have to plan. A lot. A LOT.
  2. So much will you have to plan that, after a while, you may start listing plot points on any blank surface you can find.
  3. So much will you have to plan that you may end up getting sick of your characters, even if they aren’t complete jerks. And especially if they are.
  4. You might find yourself talking about murder a lot. In a casual conversation, my dad and I found 23 ways to murder someone. Yikes.
    How I felt after a while

  5. Clues! Must have ’em. To drop them throughout the story, you must know exactly how your killer goes about doing what s/he does. Pretending to be the killer is one method of working out the finer details. My mum and I played an interview-style game where she asked me questions about the murder and I answered from the murderer’s point of view.
  6. Pretending to be a killer is also a bit creepy.
  7. It helps to draw your plot out like a comic. Stickmen were my choice of style, but you can go in any direction you prefer (realism, cubism, pointillism, etc.)
  8. Drawing the plot also helps distract from the utter frustration you may find yourself experiencing.
  9. You might find yourself coming up with more and more outrageous ideas. Maybe the crazy long-lost ghost half-brother did it!
  10. If you let someone read your work, they may have a different (maybe better) idea of who the murderer should be.
  11. You may then have to restructure your whole plot. Back to planning!

    Me at this point
  12. Readers like twists. *sob*
  13. The entire plot may not necessarily come into shape immediately. Or even after days of head-bashing and plotting and talking your friends’ and family’s ears off about murder.
  14. But the whole experience will certainly show you who your real friends are. They’ll be the ones still around after the storm.
  15. And when everything falls into place, it is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.

I don’t have to think about murder anymore!

Surprisingly, despite the frustration and occasional moments of hopelessness, I actually enjoyed the experience. It was definitely worth it in the end.

Have you ever written a murder mystery, or do you plan to write one? Let me know! If you’d like to learn more about the essentials of a murder mystery, you might like this article, which really helped me.

Thank you for reading! As always, images are from Tumblr.

 Until next time!


2 thoughts on “Writing The Kind-Of-Not-Quite-Perfect Murder Mystery

  1. Hoarder Comes Clean

    One thing I’m having a hard time getting rid of while downsizing: my favorite mystery novels. I even kept the old paperbacks, bought used in the first place and some now out of print. So far I’m making a space for them. Did you finish your mystery novel?


    • Sohini

      It was actually a short story, and I did finish! A murder mystery novel would be too difficult for me on the first try… I’ve always had trouble getting rid of books, old or not.


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