Missy Jenkins Musical Mysteries
|Posted on September 7, 2019 at 5:40 PM||comments (459)|
Remember that a good plot twist can't be thrown in at the end just to fool the reader. You have to play fair. When readers look back, they should be able to see all the clues and realize that everything fits into place. With a perfect twist ending, the reader ought to smack their forehead and say, "Wow, what a great ending! I should have seem that coming."
If you kept the reader guessing until the final confrontation, your twist was exceptional. Here are some tips to help achieve that goal:
These are my suggestions to create well-written, emotionally satisfying plot twists. If you properly set up your reader's expectations, even when he doesn't get what he anticipated, he'll realize it's still what he wanted.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS 5-PART SERIES, "PLOTTING A MYSTERY." READ ALL 5 PARTS IN MY BLOG POSTS, OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE A COPY OF THE ENTIRE SERIES, EMAIL A REQUEST TO [email protected]
|Posted on July 11, 2019 at 4:22 PM||comments (107)|
Every mystery is filled with the usual suspects to keep the reader guessing "whodunit" until the end. Have at least four characters in your novel who have possible motives to commit the crime. They will be hiding secrets, lying to your protagonist, and acting suspiciously throughout the book; they each may have a reason to want the victim dead. But only one is lying about being the killer. Your job as the author is to trick the reader into believing right up until the final disclosure--that any one of those suspects could be guilty. Here are some ways to do that:
Always remember - each one of your "usual suspects" should have a solid motive so that the reader can believe, right up to the end, any one of them could be the killer!
Coming soon - PART FOUR: BUILDING SUSPENSE
|Posted on June 19, 2019 at 7:42 PM||comments (105)|
PLOTTING A MYSTERY, PART TWO: PLANTING CLUES AND RED HERRINGS
There are several techniques to use for dropping clues and hiding secrets. You can divert attention from a clue with an action or a joke; you can drop clues in dreams; you can hide clues in lists of interesting things; or you can use dialogue for misdirection.
Coming soon - PART THREE: "THE USUAL SUSPECTS--WHAT'S THEIR MOTIVE?"
|Posted on June 12, 2019 at 8:17 PM||comments (99)|
How does a mystery writer go about planting clues and red herrings, fill the book with the usual suspects and the right amount of foreshadowing, enough conflict and suspense to keep the reader guessing whodunit, with a twist at the end? Follow along on the series of blogs, coming up in the next several weeks, to see what worked for me.
This week's blog is titled "Outline or Not, but Have a Plan."
Whether you're a plotter or a "pantser," when writing a mystery you can't leave everything to chance. Let me be honest. I don't always know the end of the story when I start writing. I don't always write in any particular order. In fact, I write sketchy outlines after my first draft and even then, I'm bound to change them later. Still, I know I need at least somewhat of a plan.
For my first novel, Terror in Double Time, the historical subplot was the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, so my mystery had to fall within a certain timeline. That gave me an outline I could follow. Certain events in the mystery had to happen on certain days of the disaster.
In the second book in the series, Death in 3/4 Time, I based the plot on an unsolved true crime, and took the ending in my own what if? direction. So I knew the ending (whodunit), even though I didn't know all the details of how I'd get to the end. So, no outline, no real plot, but a beginning and an end, so I did have a plan.
When I started writing Killing in Quarter Time, book three, all I had was an idea. I didn't plot; I just started writing and hoped the characters would show me the way. After all, I had lived with the main characters through two other books, I knew them as well as I knew myself! The characters showed me the way, all right--they took me in a totally different direction than where I was going in the first half. I had to go back and re-write. finding and changing all the clues I had already planted.
That novel made me re-think my way of writing. I still like the quote from E.L. Doctorow: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see so far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." That works for my short stories, but maybe it's not such a good idea for a traditional whodunit.
Look for my next installment: "The Usual Suspects--What's Their Motive?"
|Posted on June 3, 2018 at 8:08 PM||comments (133)|
ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?
What does that mean? To a writer, it describes how you go about your writing process.
A “plotter” means that the writer starts by making an outline before the first sentence of the novel is written. She knows how the story starts, where it’s going and she knows the ending. She knows every character, what they’re going to do, where they’re going and when. Sure, once and a while she might change her mind and stray from her outline—she’s not inflexible, after all—but there will still be a revised outline and a clear ending in mind. For some people, that works. For some, that’s too restrictive.
A “pantser” is a writer who “flies by the seat of her pants.” She has an idea for a story, starts writing, and lets the characters and the story take her where they will. It’s fun, it’s creative, and it works. Most of the time. Sometimes you can write yourself into a corner. Sometimes you can go off on tangents. But the creative freedom the pantser enjoys far outweighs, for them, the plotting and organizing that the plotter goes through prior to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Whichever type of writer you are, each has its merits and there are excellent authors from both camps. As writers, we all have our preferences, and we all agree—whatever process works for you is the right (write) one!
|Posted on September 28, 2016 at 11:41 PM||comments (93)|
Missy Jenkins is a piano teacher who lives in the small community of Twin Pines, located on the outskirts of Middletown, Pennsylvania. She is in her thirties, married to a construction worker and has two young boys. The Missy Jenkins musical mystery series is set during the late 1970s so the music that weaves throughout the series includes disco, rock and classical themes. Missy teaches her students, and her readers, bits of musical history and trivia along the way.
Every protagonist needs strengths and weaknesses, and for Missy, her character strengths are also the flaws that get her into trouble. She cares about her friends and neighbors, so she feels the need to help them. Whether they want her help or not. She gives piano lessons to most of the children and teenagers in Twin Pines, so she knows everyone. She can't stop herself from getting involved, so sometimes she ends up knowing too much. And that can lead to danger . . . or murder.