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There are seven elements of mystery novels that writers need to be aware of if they wish to create a compelling story rife with mystery.
Plot Twist by Donna Thompson has all these elements expertly incorporated into its story. With Donna being the excellent author that she is, readers can expect a mysterious tale worth their time. A tale that takes many twists and turns that no reader could’ve guessed.
A brilliant mystery novel makes readers into neophyte sleuths by presenting everything from the murder scene to the suspect’s clues. Mystery stories have distinctive components that drive their plots and captivate readers thanks to literary strategies that foster interaction and heighten suspense.
Every writer should be aware of the seven elements of mystery novels.
Defining the Meaning of Mystery Fiction
The main character in a mystery story usually sets out on a mission to investigate a crime. Mystery fiction, also called a detective or whodunit narrative, builds suspense by keeping the antagonist’s identity a secret until the story’s finale.
Mystery writers bury clues throughout the story to encourage readers to participate in the inquiry. A murder mystery book falls under criminal fiction or detective fiction.
Seven Elements of a Mystery Tale
For hundreds of years, readers have enjoyed reading mysteries. A renowned mystery fiction writer, Edgar Allan Poe produced works like his short story “The Murders in The Rue Morgue” back in 1841. A good mystery uses specific literary techniques to heighten the tension and build toward a dramatic conclusion. These components consist of:
• Element #1: The Story’s Villain
A mystery is frequently called a “whodunit” since the guilty party is not identified until the very end. Their actions are portrayed in the novel, which furthers the plot. As the plot’s conclusion approaches, the reader and the main character learn the criminal’s identity.
The book Plot Twist by Donna Thompson perfectly plays with this element, keeping the readers in the dark until the story’s shocking conclusion. As one of the seven elements of mystery novels, any writer must incorporate this into their tale.
Villains are essential aspects of mystery novels, so developing their characters is necessary.
• Element #2: Provide Satisfying Red Herrings
An excellent mystery diverts the reader’s attention. Red herrings play a crucial role in mysteries. By generating other suspects, detracting the detective—and the reader—from the actual offender, and luring them away, these misleading clues heighten the suspense.
By putting greater focus on an item, circumstance, or character that grabs the reader’s attention and making that aspect seem more important than it actually is to the plot, a writer can produce red herrings.
• Element #3: Give Readers a Strong Hook
A compelling beginning is essential to capturing the reader’s interest and inviting them to try to figure out the crime in a great mystery. The first line of a mystery should contain enough background information on the crime to pique interest.
The opening chapter should introduce the mystery, joining the reader and the main character on their quest to solve the crime. This is the turning point where the reader decides whether or not to keep reading. Readers can anticipate the remainder of the narrative to be identical if the dramatic component is absent from the start.
• Element #4: Make Use of Foreshadowing
Mystery plots frequently contain hints about future events. We call this foreshadowing. A writer may use a little clue or character speech to allude to a future occurrence. Foreshadowing can be wholly or somewhat overt; authors can either imply future events discreetly or directly state what will happen.
• Element #5: Ensure That There is a Crime Happening
In a mystery book, crime is what always drives a crime. The central conflict that starts the investigation sends the primary protagonist on their quest. It also drives the narrative arc, which is revealed in the opening chapter and is the result of a crime.
• Element #6: Introduce a Breadcrumb of Clues
The literary component of clues enables mystery stories to interest readers more deeply than other forms of fiction. As an amateur detective, the reader follows the trail of hints to try to identify the perpetrator.
Authors should have a well-organized writing method to ensure the narrative lines make sense whenever writing mysteries. A technique that allows them to keep track of the clues they’re developing when they occur and who knows what.
• Element #7: The Sleuth in Your Story
Every mystery has a central figure who is obsessed with finding the culprit. Private detective Philip Marlowe was a fictional character created by mystery author Raymond Chandler to investigate crimes. Mystery writers can raise the tension by finding ways to make their main characters (the sleuth) personally invested in figuring out the crime.
There you have it, folks, seven elements of mystery novels that writers need to incorporate into their stories. The plot Twist by Donna Thompson is a perfect example of a mystery novel with these elements. We encourage readers to read the book and discover a rich tale full of mystery and crime.
If you want to read more about writing mystery novels, check out our tips on writing compelling plot twists in our blog!