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Mystery Monday – Make Your Reader a Detective


Tips to Draw Your Reader Into Your Mystery

Create a mystery that gives your reader opportunities to play and active part in unveiling the suspect. 

Mindset and Methods 

Beginning writers often are so involved in the process of creating a novel, they forget the reader. Readers are an author’s lifeblood. They post reviews which are critical in getting your book noticed. And, as an author, they send personal messages about your book. 
So, while you are writing, keep your reader in mind.

  • Leave clues throughout your story. Sprinkle them in from the beginning. Don’t wait until near the end. The reader loves going along on the hunt with the detective.
  • Create red herring. Lead your reader down the wrong path along with your detective. 
  • Use supporting characters – the other suspects. Some will be truthful and others will lie. Your reader will need to fathom who is telling the truth.
  • Have multiple suspicious characters. Give each one a secret so your reader can puzzle out who is hiding something important as a clue to the murder.
  • Create an empathic sleuth. Give her flaws that make her feel human to the reader. Use psychological, physical, and moral flaws to deepen your protagonist.

Readers, including agents and editors, need to puzzle along with your sleuth. Give them problems to solve. 

Zara Altair
 Zara Altair writes traditional mysteries set in the time of Ostrogoth Rule in Italy in The Argolicus Mysteries. She coaches writers on story, especially mysteries. 

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