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  • Kimbre Christopher

TIPS ON WRITING MYSTERIES

We are excited to have a guest contributor this month! Multi-published author, Paty Jager,


Every mystery book I’ve written, I start out with the firm belief I know who the killer is.

I start preparing for the book by deciding where the main character (Shandra Higheagle) is, what she is doing, and how she will come to either discover a body, be in the vicinity of who does find the body, or know the accused murderer.


The next step is making up my suspect chart and writing down what I know and want others to know about each suspect.


With the suspect chart comes red herrings and other characters─friends, family of the suspects, and the victim.


Once the chart is done, I evaluate and decide which one would be the least likely to have killed, yet have the best motive. And that’s the character who I start out hiding the information (red herrings and quick mentions of clues that are glossed over) and plan to have be the one "who dun it" in the end.


Every book so far, the killer has ended up being someone other than who I started out to write about. I’m not sure if it’s because I do so many twists and turns in who it could be that I confuse myself or that I realize the person I started out as the murderer is too logical, so I do yet another twist and there is my killer! When I go back through the book to put in clues, I always see that I’d added the necessary clues without thinking about it.

All along, my subconscious knew who did it while my working brain was busy working on my initial scenario.


I love that this happens because it surprises not only me but the reader. And it means that writing mystery is what I should be doing since my subconscious seems to know my murderous mind better than I do!


Do you like stories with lots of twists and turns or do you like to know who did it and work with the sleuths to prove it?



UPCOMING COFFEE CHATS



We have had some amazing coffee chats this year so far. It has been fun to meet other authors in the area and gain insight from them! Our next ones will be:


August 24 − Saturday at The Alchemist on Overland

September 21 − Saturday at Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell

November 16 − Saturday, at the Sunrise Café in Caldwell


Stay updated by visiting our Facebook page!

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