Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mystery Central: The Crime

Tip of the Day: happy soon-to-be spring everyone!

Continuing on about mystery novels, in addition to the mystery structure there's a few more things I like to know about my book before I get started writing.

The first one: The Crime

Now since we're talking about MG and YA novels, the crime probably isn't going to be anywhere near as bad as in an adult mystery novel (though never say never, I guess). So the saying that a mystery novel has to contain a dead body, doesn't always apply to mysteries for younger readers. Whatever your crime is, it has to fit the tone of your book.

Once you have a general idea of what your crime will be: kidnapping, theft, murder, etc. then there's a few things I like to figure out:

  1. Crime Scenario (Victim, weapon, scene of the crime, etc.)
  2. What appears to have happened
  3. What really happened
  4. Why this crime matters to the sleuth
With MG and YA mysteries the sleuth is often more invested in the crime, merely because they don't have jobs such as a police officer, private investigator, lawyer, or even bounty hunter. Sure you can have them pretend to be one of the above or aspire to be one when they become an adult, but there still has to be something linking the sleuth to this particular crime.

Knowing this ahead of time helps me a ton when writing.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Photo borrowed from: http://www.mysterygift.biz/mystery.jpg


Kate Fall said...

That's an awesome list. I like your distinction between what happened and what appeared to have happened.

DeenaML said...

I like that younger mysteries don't have to be murders. Missing ppl, like in THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY are good reads. That was a great book.

Andrea said...

I like the way you succinctly capture what a good mystery needs. It made me stop and think about my last novel and whether I have all those elements.

Christina Farley said...

Oh I like this list! Mysteries are some of my favorite novels.

Emily Marshall said...

Deena, I'm going to have to try that one.

Andrea, I always like to have a list ready to check to see if I really have all my elements in my mystery's too.

Christina, mysteries are some of my favs too!

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