Blogger's Note: Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons author Denise Grover Swank gives insight into plotting a mystery novel. Read my review of the novel here. Read an excerpt here.
I’ve loved mysteries since I was a kid. I devoured Encyclopedia Brown mysteries, trying to figure out who did it before the big reveal. It was a test of my logic and my smarts to see if I could figure it out. (Sadly, I didn’t have enough or either back then.) So when I decided to do-or-die and write my first completed novel, it was only natural that I wrote a mystery of some kind. (It was a romantic suspense and it remains unpublished. You’re welcome.) The only problem. How did I write a mystery???
It was a daunting task, the layering of clues, the false leads, but the truth is, with my first mystery I just started writing it with some plot points I knew I need to hit. I’ve since learned the best place to start is at the end. I don’t actually write the end, but it’s helpful to know who did it before you start writing. Surprisingly enough, when I wrote Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, the first Rose Gardner Mystery, I knew who did it, but I wasn’t sure why in the beginning.
I don’t recommend this.
When I wrote Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons, I decided to make it easier on myself. I knew who did it and marked out places along the way I planned to reveal clues. My plan worked brilliantly, but I still wasn’t done. Part of writing a mystery is trying to trick your reader. You throw out fake leads and clues. You want to distract them from who really did it. These are the fine nuances that come later.
Writing a mystery for me is really about layering. You lay your foundation of bigger clues and then layer and layer smaller clues and hints until you have this finished pile of bones and... oh wait. Wrong kind of book.
About the Author
Grover Swank lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children,
three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in
her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You
will rarely find her cleaning.
You can find out more about Denise and her other books at www.denisegroverswank.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Author
Buy the Book
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/twenty-nine-and-a-half-reasons-denise-grover-swank/1111829183?ean=2940014641968
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