Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - paranormal mysteries

Mystery is always somehow woven into a paranormal romance. The protagonist needs to find something out whether it be who this strange man is, shed light on a murky family history, or find out who committed a horrific crime. Sometimes all of those things. Mysteries are trickier in this genre because they usually have a paranormal twist.

Here are a few tips to writing a believable and intriguing paranormal mystery:

1. Plot is key. The reader is playing detective as they're reading. Each plot point must be plausible within the world you've created. The action must be kept going forward too. Don't go off on tangents as it will only confuse and/or bore the reader.

2. Use red herrings. There should be at least one crucial clue in the story, but you don't want the reader to figure it out right away. Red herrings will lead them off in different directions and put their suspicions on other suspects. YET don't let them continue on for too long or become too frustrating.

3. Suspense. Strange footsteps and an unanswered question. Use time constraints and keep the stakes high.

4. The protagonist should be clever enough to keep the reader intrigued, or at least, have very smart friends. *coughsHermioneGrangercoughs* A mystery requires the protagonist to investigate and that requires a certain level of skill and intelligence. The protagonist can't stumble across every answer.

5. The reader must have access to all the clues available to the protagonist and, even though it shouldn't be readily apparent, the answer to the mystery should be there before the end.

Do you have any tips on how to write a good mystery?

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20 comments:

  1. I love using red herrings, but they are tricky as you want the reader to suspect something, but not guess it....

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    1. They are tricky. It's easier to write out tips for mysteries than writing a mystery itself!

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  2. There's such a fine line between giving clues and giving the whole caboodle away. But I do love writing mysteries :-) The occasional cliff-hanger (my other favorite) is not a bad idea either...

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    1. It is a fine line, and if you can do it well, bravo!

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  3. what are you writing? these are great tips! we should trade!

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    1. I'm not actually writing anything. *laughs* I've been revising lately. I'd love to be able to write a complex and intriguing mystery, but it takes a lot of skill. Are you writing a mystery?

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  4. Great tips Christine! I love reading and writing this kind of mystery too - thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. Thanks! It's tricky to write a good mystery, but so much fun.

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  5. Number three is so important. You need to continually open new questions in the reader's mind. Not always sure how to do that, but I know curiosity keeps people turning the page.

    Great tips.

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    1. Thank you. It takes some practice to be able to write a good mystery. Maybe one day I'll be able to write a paranormal mystery that will knock people's socks off.

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  6. I love it when paranormal romance has a mystery attached to it. Those are great tips!

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    1. Thanks! I love a good mystery too. It's much harder to write them than just writing tips about them, though!

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  7. Hi Christine! I'm stopping by from the A to Z Challenge sign up list. These are excellent writer tips. I look forward to visiting your blog again :)

    KarenG

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    1. Hi and welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to the challenge in April. :)

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  8. These are excellent tips. I'm not a mystery writer, but I might add that I like it when there's an unexpected twist - when things don't turn out the way you thought they would.

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    1. Thank you. I don't focus on mystery either, but there's always a little something going on. I love those unexpected twists too.

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  9. I think to add another layer to a mystery is using the power of foreshadowing. Maybe it can be symbolic, but a little foreshadowing goes a long way.

    It'll give the reader yet another "Ah-ha!" moment.

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    1. Foreshadowing is great when it's subtle. I've seen a quite a few stories where it's so heavy-handed. Good tip!

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  10. Excellent tips. I get very frustrated with stories that do not give any clues and do not allow me to figure it out for myself.

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    1. Me too. I also like to be fooled and experience unexpected twists. It's hard to do when I've read so many books.

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