Whether you’re writing one or reading one, a mystery novel is a fun escape from real life into a world of questions and intrigue. It can be a great way to test your creativity and sharpen your deductive reasoning skills. To help you better craft your story or crack the case, you should remember that most mystery stories follow a basic pattern to make them interesting, compelling, and exciting!
A Strong Start
Every great mystery novel has a good hook right at the beginning to draw in readers and get them wondering what the heck happened! It’s the first of seven important elements to any mystery. Things like strong attention to detail, juxtaposition, or things wildly out of the ordinary all draw readers’ attention to the characters and plot and leave them wanting more.
After the reader is hooked, a good author will keep them engaged by leaving hints in the story for the readers to pick up on. However, if they can piece together enough information they might figure out who the bad guy is too quickly, unless the clues were red herrings! Red herrings — information intended to misdirect the reader — are a great way to throw the scent off an antagonist or make the audience focus somewhere else.
Mystery books need an effective, engaging writing tone to keep readers moving through the pages. A few elements play into making this possible. First, the dialogue between characters has to be compelling without giving away too much information. Second, an accurate description of the mood and scenes throughout the story can really set an eerie stage. Third, make sure the chapters are set up in a logical way to move the reader closer to the solution. Finally, no good mystery is over without a satisfying conclusion that answers all the reader’s questions.