It’s my distinct pleasure to welcome mystery writer Elizabeth Spann Craig (aka Riley Adams) as guest today. She offers fabulous tips on her blog Mystery Writing Is Murder. I hope you’ll visit her there and enjoy her mystery writing advice. Thanks, Elizabeth!
3 Useful Additions for Your Mystery
By Elizabeth S. Craig
Writing a mystery can be a great experience—and sometimes a challenging one. Here are three additions to make your mystery a faster-paced, more complex, and smoother read:
A body near the beginning of the book. Although not an absolute must, it’s a great way to both start your book out with a bang and set a faster-pace right from the beginning. With a body near the start of the book, your sleuth jumps right into the investigation.
A sidekick. Sidekicks provide our sleuths with someone to bounce ideas off of. Stories without sidekicks frequently feature sleuths engaged in lots of internal monologue.
Lies. If our suspects both lie and tell the truth, it makes the case more challenging for our sleuth…and keeps them guessing who’s reliable. Lies are a nice way to add red herrings (bad leads) to a mystery, as well.
As a reader or writer, what are your favorite elements in a mystery?
Elizabeth’s latest book, Knot What it Seams , released February 5 and Rubbed Out launches July 2. Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently.