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First Steps in Your Mystery Story

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash Where The Story Starts Today’s readers want a good story. Your beginning sets up your reader for the rest of the story. Lose them at the beginning and you won’t get them back. Your goal at the beginning, is to get the readers involved in the story.Beginning writers can struggle…

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Unpack Your Story’s Supporting Characters

Individual Characters and the Story ​In a mystery, supporting characters provide conflict for the detective. Their role in the story is to confound, confuse, lie and make trouble for your protagonist. They enhance the story context and color how your story is revealed. ​ The Character Bible ​A character bible is the place where you…

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Weave Your Setting for Maximum Story Impact

Setting – A Force In Your Story Setting is like a character in your story that has no dialogue. Setting not only grounds your characters and your readers, setting interacts with characters to enhance your story. Setting is what makes readers feel like they are there.Beginning writers often overlook the depth that setting adds to a…

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What Readers Want From Scenes

Readers Want One Thing From a Scene – Change Scenes are the building blocks of your story. Each scene moves the story forward and shed a no light on the main character. Each scene is a mini-story with the same overall sequence as the main story—beginning, middle, end. Within that mini-story a change happens. ​…

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How To Structure Your Story Idea

From Story Idea to Story Summary ​Once you create your one-sentence story idea, build out to a summary paragraph to include characters, main story points, and the climax. Expanding your story idea builds your story writing momentum. Years ago Randy Ingermanson proposed a way to summarize your story highlighting the important pivots: three disasters plus…

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Capture Your Story Idea In One Sentence

Harness Your Story Idea to Write a Better Novel When a writer has a new story idea, you spend time thinking about your novel before you ever start writing. You’ll do bits of research. You’ll brainstorm how the story will work. You hear the voices of different characters. You think about what the book is…

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Backstory and Dreams – What To Do

Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash Backstory and Dreams – New Writer Pitfalls ​Backstory and Dreams are traps for beginning writers. When you’re just starting out, avoid them. Yes, I know Michael Connelly uses war dreams for Bosch.  Use these two story elements with a light touch. Best to avoid them. If you use them at all, wait…