Hints for a Murder (in a Mystery Novel)

#writetip

Are you writing a murder mystery, crime novel or other type of mystery? Sometimes it’s hard to tell when to drop hints and when to hold them for later in the story.

I like to read a mystery and not know who committed the crime until the climax. I like to guess, but I don’t want to be sure. There is a balance between knowing who done it and only having an idea.

Too many hints and the answer is obvious, and I feel let down by the book. Too few hints, and I feel cheated.

So what do I do to avoid this problem?

I have readers that only look for the guilty party. I ask them to read my novel but not correct any errors. I want them to concentrate on who done it.

 I have them mark the margin every time they suspect a character. I ask them to put the character’s name in the margin along with a note of why they think the character is guilty.

Do you have a method for  finding out if your hints are in the right place?

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10 thoughts on “Hints for a Murder (in a Mystery Novel)

  1. I don’t write mysteries but I did need clues/hints in my novel. I find the best way is to let your critique partner read through it to see if she/he are picking up on them:-)

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  2. I’m not a big mystery fan and will probably never write one, but recently read the PURE by Claire Gillian and it was awesome. Not too many hints- and some hints I inserted just to throw you off. Good stuff

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  3. I’m not writing a mystery, but I like the idea of asking a reader to focus on just one aspect of the story, and write their guess in the margins. I might have to try something similar!

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