Think a Fiction Formula is a Bad Idea? Think Again…

Another year. Another NaNoWriMo win. Another story fail. Sound familiar?

I completed another NNWM this year, in spite of working full-time. That’s the good news. I can write enough each day to reach the goal of 50K words in 30 days. The bad news is, the story’s terrible. In fact, it’s not really a […]

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Every Murder Mystery Plot. Ever.

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

Well, that’s a bit strong. However, an article in The Boston Globe purports to cover them all, in a few hundred words.

For beginners, there’s the Obvious Killer story. Yes, the butler really did do this one. Or that guy with all the sharp tools, who’s […]

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Seems Joss Whedon Agrees With Me…

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

Found this webpage, where Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and more) discusses writing. He doesn’t specify murder mysteries, but he does use big pieces of paper, charts, graphs, colored pens and so on when he’s providing structure to his stories.

Like my […]

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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 […]

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Mystery Plots: On Paper? Or Software?

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

In this stream of posts on Mystery Plotting (and elsewhere) I’ve mentioned using large paper strips as part of the plot building process. While that’s nice, it can get to be Very Messy. And once you have a paper plot in hand, it’s often not that […]

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Plotting a Mystery: The Christie Method, Sort Of

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

One thing I’ve learned in my life is always steal from model on the best. Since I use a method very similar to that of Agatha Christie’s, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned. First, a caution: Christie was deranged when it came to method; that […]

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How to Plot a Mystery

This entry is part of a series, Mystery Plotting»

This short post will begin to reveal my process for plotting the perfect murder mystery. Yes, I have the perfect process. I just don’t have it perfected yet…

Actually, building my first full mystery plot been an amazing journey of self-revelation, discovery and learning, as well […]

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More From the Plot Lab

Got the lab rolling today and found a few more things I need to really make this machine hum. I included a file box with 4” x 6” cards (lines ones) in a handy file box that has dividers 1 to 31. I got some more Post-It note pads out of the stash. I got […]

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A Few More Items for the Plot Lab

Okay, it’s not done yet, although I’m already using it. I added an easel from my kit of equipment that’s quite useful: An easel, with lined white paper. In particular, with a self-stick easel pad, where the pages have that wonderful gum across the top that lets you stick a page up anywhere; the same […]

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The Plot Laboratory, Part I: Getting Started

So far, I’ve not found any software that helps novelists build a detailed plot in combined graphical and text form, and that puts all that into a form where the writer can see an overview (50,000 ft. level, as some say) and simultaneously up close (or nearly so). The more I think about it, the […]

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