Mystery Plots: Simple (and Not So Simple) Schemes on the Web

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

Naturally I’m not the only person presenting thoughts about murder mystery plots on the Web. Before going into detail on my woes, I’ll share some of the sites I’ve enjoyed reading. I’m not sure what I’ve incorporated from each of these, if anything. Some of the techniques and tips I’ve found in books, or made up similar on my own. Take a peek and see what you might could use:

eHow has a short article hitting all the high points for a do-it-yourself murder mystery.

If you want ten rules for mystery writing, try this list.

Another top ten, this time solid ideas for stories.

Maybe you like the number 12 better? Check out these dozen points for plotting the perfect mystery.

Or perhaps a twelve-step program to a mystery novel? (No, not THAT program.) Here’s a good one, in twelve chapters.

Sandra Parshall points out that clues drive the mystery.

Here’s an article that purports to expose every mystery plot. Ever.

The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has a fine site up on writing, and teaching about, mysteries. Great bibliographies too.

Jim Williams writes mysteries that are well-received, and spookily prophetic. His thoughts on writing whodunnits can be found here.

Crime and suspense are related, overlapping genres, and Lesley Grant-Adamson has written some fine examples. She talks about her philosophy of writing and story-telling here.

When pulp fiction ruled the genre many authors and pundits wrote lists about what constituted proper detective fiction. Here’s Ronald Knox’s Decalogue, written as a (partially tongue-in-cheek) Ten Commandments.

Lester Dent, of Doc Savage fame, had a simple formula that he claimed worked every time. You can read it here.

In closing, G. K. Chesterton (an author of some small repute himself) once penned an oath that all authors of detective fiction should swear by: Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?

Can’t argue with that…

Borrow From the Best; It’s Called Research…

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