Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystery Monday #1

It's Mystery Monday!

Welcome to our regular Monday feature, where you'll find different kinds of writing prompts and exercises. Each week,we'll give you something to help exercise your mystery-writing muscles.

This month on our blog, we're introducing ourselves and discussing what drew us to mystery writing. As you'll learn, some of us stumbled into the genre, and some of us made a deliberate choice from the start.

If you're thinking of writing a mystery, or have already embarked on that journey, it's good to think about what kind of mystery you might like to write -- there's a lot of variety out there. Do you want to try your hand at a classic whodunnit? Police procedural? Cozy mystery? Mystery/thriller? Paranormal mystery mash-up? Historical? Mystery/thriller? Murder mystery? Treasure hunt? Missing person? Missing item? Caper? The first exercise here is intended to raise your awareness of the kind of mysteries that interest you.

Journal Prompt / Writing Warm-Up:
Write freely about these questions for 10-15 minutes.
  • What mysteries do you most enjoy reading? Why? What do you find appealing about these mysteries?
  • What mystery authors do you like to read or want to read? Why?
  • Do you watch any mysteries on TV, or enjoy mysteries in movie form? Which ones? Why? 
  • Picture a cover for your mystery (even if you don't have a title). What does it look like? What kind of image does it have? What colors are used? (If you're so inclined, draw a picture of it!)
Tracking Down Ideas
Ideas for mysteries are everywhere! Try listing ideas or writing freely for each of the following questions:
  • What news stories have caught your attention lately? Are any of them mysteries? (Hint -- check the Local News section of your newspaper, as well as Police Logs in your community newspaper).
  • Have there been any mysterious goings-on in your neighborhood (or school, or workplace)? What happened? What details could you change or add to turn a neighborhood event into a story?
  • Did you ever lose something or have something stolen from you? What did it feel like? Was the item ever found? Could this experience grow into a bigger story? Can you imagine who took your item, and why?
  • Do you have any mysteries in your family? A family heirloom or object that went missing -- or that mysteriously appeared? Any family "legends" -- either current ones or in the past? Could you add or change any details to turn a family mystery into a fictional one? 
  • Visit an ordinary place -- a library, a clothing store, a public park, a parking garage, etc. Take notes on details you notice there. Then list any details that seem out of the ordinary\. (Is a door ajar? Is there an unclaimed bag on a table?) Finally, list details that you could add or change to create a sense of mystery. Look at all your lists when you get home and write freely about what kind of mystery might happen here.
Where have you found ideas for mysteries? Where else do you like to look for ideas?


    1. I usually look to historical events for ideas for mysteries, even if I turn twist the idea around and make it my own. I love your new blog b/c I love books with a mysterious element to it!

    2. Thanks Laura! And thanks for the tip about looking to historical events for ideas. History and mystery work well together; that's a combination I love to read.


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...