I love writing mystery books, it’s my genre and often at times I get asked how they’re so good? It’s simple, really. I just do what I like to call the Open-and -Close-Method. This simply implies opening a problem: The general problem of the book and solve it. But then the book is too small and not all that interesting, I mean, yeah, Peril was threatened with a note, she recognizes the handwriting, but isn’t sure, meaning she somehow knows the writer, she then traces the handwriting to her three friends and finds that her best friend Ian sent it.
Now you’re wondering where’s the action? The drama? The romance?
Open up another sub-problem and solve it, keeping in mind that you don’t want to stretch it out too long. Two chapters or three should be enough to close a sub-problem. What if she has a crush on a guy in her school? He’s mute and writes to her all the time, but his handwriting looks just like the one on the threat? But it can’t be him… right?
With an estimated word-count, a fixed plot and themes outlined, this process is going to make writing mystery books a breeze. It works for me and it’s fun to create depth in my characters each time they address an issue. Like in my novel To New York’s Attorney, I use this pattern to open little problems in their relationship, problems that bring my character Christina and her love interest Barron Harrington that much closer to uncovering the murder of his father.
I hope you get the chance to try out this technique, drop a comment, tell me what works for you.