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How is a Good Mystery Created?

How often have you read a good story and thought you could easily write one? Yet, if you sit down to a keyboard and give it a go you eventually discover it will take some work.  If you’re willing to put in the effort you just might come up with a passable book.

The elements of a good mystery aren’t always easy to spot (that’s why it’s called a good mystery, bwahahaaa!) but you know one if you read one.  See how well you know some of the necessary elements a whodunit needs in this bemusing quiz.

When you see how well you’ve done let us know in the comments below whether you’ve decided to write that book.

  • Question of

    Every mystery needs a protagonist, one who is a…

    • Chief Character
    • Criminal Character
    • Crusading Character
  • Question of

    Great mystery writers fashion protagonists readers will…

    • Scorn
    • Support
    • Suspect
  • Question of

    Every mystery needs to make readers yearn to solve the puzzle.

    • True
    • False
    • Hmmm, not always.
  • Question of

    The best mysteries may have many suspicious characters.

    • Yes, the more thrilling the better.
    • No, enervating readers is a no-no.
  • Question of

    Red Herrings are used in mysteries to…

    • Help readers understand the story’s intrigue.
    • Guide readers in discovering the enigma.
    • Mislead readers about the resolution.
  • Question of

    Dialogue in a mystery should…

    • Describe all character’s motives.
    • Shroud an antagonist’s validity.
    • Provide stress in a story’s thread.
  • Question of

    Descriptive phrases should be used sparingly in mysteries.

    • True
    • False
    • Only in both the opening and closing chapters.
  • Question of

    Choose the best way to increase tension from the following:

    • Concoct a new setting.
    • Confound a character.
    • Describe a murder scene.
    • Discover who lied.
  • Question of

    Persuading readers they know the whodunit before the end of a mystery is a bad idea.

    • True
    • False
  • Question of

    Plots in a mystery must always be believable.

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    The best way to hook a reader is to introduce the mystery’s question early in the book.

    • Absolutely in the first quarter.
    • Never before the middle.
    • Depends only on the genre.
  • Question of

    Do most mystery readers accept any sort of crime in a book?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    What is the primary reason clues need to reflect those that a real life detective would use?

    • It helps readers in their journey to discover the whodunit.
    • It helps readers follow the storyline.
    • It helps readers find satisfaction in the story.
  • Question of

    Which of the following is a huge mistake for mystery writers?

    • Not understanding that readers need every detail to follow the storyline.
    • Not understanding that readers want to work out the secret for themselves.
    • Not understanding that readers love having conflict interpreted.

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Written by robertatalloni

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