Friday, October 29, 2010

ARTICLE: How to Get Started Writing a Mystery Novel #MMM

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Plotting and Writing Suspense FictionHow to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense

Many like to read novels, and will read them again and again, but have the desire to do much more, such as write a story themselves. The place where many get stuck is at the very beginning, where do I start? There are about five different ways to help yourself brainstorm and get your ideas down on paper before any actual story writing takes place. This allows you to organize your thoughts, and acknowledge all the possibilities to maximize the chances of getting your story off the ground. The techniques are not all separate though. They can be used in order to help you through the creation process.

The first method that can be used is what is commonly known as free writing. This can be done one of two ways. You can allow yourself as much time as you want to just let any ideas that come to mind to be jotted down on the paper, or you can time yourself. You can take five to ten minutes, and everything that comes to mind that would fit into your story gets written down on your paper. Do not worry if it does not make sense that is not the point of the exercise. The point is to get the creative juices flowing, and giving you the opportunity to branch off any idea you may have put down. Many of the comments you write down will not be used at all in the story, but the more you have the more chances you have of inspiration, and an idea you can work with. It is a great exercise, and it may also help if you run into a writer's block. This may get your ideas on paper, but the next part is choosing and organizing the ideas you want to include in your story.

Which brings us to the next technique, mind mapping or the old-fashioned cluster. It starts out with a circle in the middle of the paper. If you know what you want your story to be based around or at least have somewhat of an idea from your free writing exercise then you can use that in the middle of the circle. After that is all done it is time to start branching out. You can draw a line from the middle circle connecting it to another one that is located towards the outside of the paper. In this one who can put an idea that deals with the main story, such as the main plot, or perhaps character introductions, anything really that relates directly with the main idea. You can make as many as you want connecting to the middle circle! Now you can also branch off the secondary ideas, and just keep going, this will give you a rough representation of how your story will weave together, and how it is all interconnected. This works great for very visual people!

The third approach to preparing you ideas for a story is to create the characters. Identify and write down all the personality traits, interest, to really make them something genuine! Do not be afraid to get too in detail, the more you know the characters the easier it is to write about them, or even to create the dialogue of the story. You can make them a profile, which includes likes, dislikes, hobbies, and lifestyle. Another important factor with this system is to know the relationships of each character to the others and how they intertwine. One last part of this method to remember is the perspective! There will be a main character, maybe one, maybe two, but is always good to establish how you want the story to be told. It helps if you imagine the story from all different viewpoints, to really expose yourself and get a better understanding of what you really want.

Next is a plot line. Every story has background information, an introduction, rising action, climax, the falling action, and finally the resolution. It is great to vaguely plot out these sections, so that you have a basic understanding of where the story is going. Of course the events can change, with fiction writing nothing is set in stone, but it definitely helps keep your thoughts on track, and progressively going towards your goal. Getting a little bit detailed can benefit you when you start the writing. A paragraph or two should suffice though.

Finally the last part is creating an outline. It significantly helps if before you go on to a full on book to try writing a few short stories to help get you familiar with the process, and to enhance your writing ability. You can start with the intro and then go into chapters if you want. They do not have to be ten paged chapters, but for a short story they can be about two to three paragraphs long and just bullet the important items you want within that section. You can go about doing this for the whole story, and voila! You have a very basic rough draft of what you want your story to look like. Now all that is left is putting words around it and details!

Since this process can vary from person to person, you may want to add your own personal flavor to it or perhaps you feel comfortable skipping a step, it is simply your choice. Do not forget though to use the resources that you have, such as a dictionary, and thesaurus. If these techniques are applied to the creation process, you will be well on your way to writing a mystery novel.

Learn how to write your own mystery novel at

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