Tips to Draw Your Reader Into Your Mystery
Mindset and Methods
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 writes traditional mysteries set in the time of Ostrogoth Rule in Italy in The Argolicus Mysteries. She coaches writers on story, especially mysteries.