SHANNON MUIR’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS on THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF are weekly observations from the site administrator on her writing life, or the industry at large. Anything Shannon Muir thinks about goes – check the blog every Thursday!
Once I’ve discovered where what character serves a premise I want to tell, it becomes time to unpack the story and figure out the path it will take. That means digging down to the key details that create the twists and turns that form the backbone of the stories. In the case of writing a mystery, those consist of the clues that are discovered along the way that will uncover the guilty party.
With a mystery, though, I get some added challenges. If the clues are clear and easy to follow, it makes the mystery too easy to guess and runs the risk of the audience figuring it out and not finishing the story, no matter how compelling the characters. So, in the case of a mystery, red herrings must be interjected that muddy the waters, but yet appear credible enough to keep readers guessing. They must appear to be credible alternative options, and not make themselves apparent.
That is where the challenge of the craft comes in, and I admire those who do it well. For me, I enjoy not only working the clues out but figuring out how to craft better ones each time. Growing is the journey.
Until next time…