Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How to find a plot hole in your mystery.

or     

8 basic steps in a murder mystery

The Problem:

I've been writing book 4 in the Caleb Cove Mystery Series. Doing well--I thought - until I reached about 18,000 words and realized. I had solid characters, lots of action, BUT no danger, no suspense, no tension and now where to go that was interesting in terms of a mystery story.
Major missing pieces.  **BIG SIGH**  


For the last two nights I watched old mystery series and crocheted, my go-to for keeping front mind busy so underneath can brainstorm. No real progress on the story ( did make 2 hats.)

Return to the drawing board:

This morning I decided to forget my location, action and characters and go back to the basics of a murder plot. In other words, backing up and looking at the big picture which needs to include these for starters.


Killing, killer, victim, discovery, reporting, sleuth and solution.


My brainstorming tool of choice:

 -- a mind map. (See Tony Buzan & Mind Mapping)

I started with the bodies, asked questions and fanned out around the central point. And bingo, I found my missing link and wrote down a BASIC plot line. (On left of diagram.) The long curvy arrow is the missing link.




What I found is not visible (x marks the spot) because that would be a spoiler for the book. (Came Home From the Grave -available on most digital sites & paper on Amazon)



 The Result: The Plot

 Sleuth:
1) finds bodies, 

2) investigates, 

3) learn secrets, 

4) gets found out by killer before telling secret, 

5) ends up in mortal danger , 

6) escapes OR is rescued or a bit of both

7) reveals and catches killer

8) gets reward

  Steps 3 and 4 were the missing pieces.


Now I know where to put all that action and character development and what to add to make things worse, to increase tension, and to enhance the mystery.

  What is your go-to tool for solving writing problems - plot, character or other?

 

 

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