The End That Satisfies
A mystery novel is all about a puzzle. As the story unfolds you put more and more pieces in place that lead your sleuth toward discovering the killer. Once the sleuth reveals the killer, the puzzle is complete.
As far as your reader is concerned, you have solved the puzzle. Your ending needs to come soon after that last puzzle piece is complete. Your reader has the final piece. Any delay in getting to the end of your story can leave your reader dissatisfied. Wrap up everything as neatly as possible. An unsatisfied reader will not want to read more of your books and leave less positive reviews.
3 Tips for Getting to The End in a Mystery
Mystery writers face a challenge of getting to the end of a story as quickly as possible after the killer is revealed. To give your reader the best satisfaction with your mystery help them get to the conclusion.
- Tie up loose ends before the reveal. In many novel formats the conclusion can tie up many subplots and emotional challenges for the main character. Mystery readers want the reveal and then they are done. Tie up subplots and love interests before the reveal. Wrapping up those loose ends before the reveal creates tension and keeps the reader reading.
- Dastardly deeds before the reveal. If your sleuth and the reader know who the killer is, don’t prolong the ending by creating a new sequence where the killer threatens the love interest or otherwise creates an entire new episode in your mystery. Even though it may appear you ratchet up the tension, you don’t. The tension for the reader in a mystery is solving the puzzle. Once the killer is revealed, end the story.
- Make the reveal the high point. Making the reveal the high point of your mystery will keep you from inserting more action sequences afterwards. Get the killer to their just rewards like imprisonment as quickly after his confrontation with your sleuth.
Reward Your Reader
Your reader follows your detective through the suspects, clues, red herrings, and evidence to discover the perpetrator. You can reward your reader by giving them a quick path to the end of your novel after the sleuth reveals the killer. You’ve solved the puzzle.