Mystery Writing. The are the most observant of all genre heroes Usually, the mystery solver is called upon to risk his life at some point (for the mystery is a story of survival). The detective always noses around too much for their own good. What saves them is their clever mind.
There must be a crime, or at least a crime in the making. The crime could be against a person, place or an object (such as one that has special value).
The crime must then be discovered
Often times the person who discovers the crime gets accused as a suspect later.Elements of a mystery
Once the crime has been discovered the mystery solver steps onto the scene.
The mystery solver could be a police officer, a detective, a neighbor, private citizen, relative, etc.
Their reason for taking on the case will vary. It could be their job, they want money, a personal interest, love, curiosity, familial responsibility, etc.Elements of a mystery
Next comes the witnesses. The mystery solver must figure out if anyone saw anything.
Very rarely does a witness see a crime exactly as it happened. They observe with different degrees of accuracy.
Also witnesses may not tell the truth if they are trying to protect themselves or others.Elements of a mystery
Then we have the suspects. Suspects all have motives, which is why the mystery solver thinks they may have committed the crime.
You cannot identify the culprit from outward appearances alone, which is why detective work must be done.
Other reasons people become suspects are because they were close to the crime when it happened, or they don’t have a solid alibi.
A character’s motive stems from their secret self.Elements of a mystery
We always want to uncover more than just the motive. X killed their father because X hated their father. Mystery solvers want to know why. Well, X hated his father because he was cut out of the will. Why was he cut out? Because X got married against his father’s wishes. Why? X wanted to rebel.Elements of a mystery
Motives include: revenge, jealousy, lust, greed, altruism, fear, blackmail, fear of exposure of one’s past, abnormality, etc.
The lawbreaker never succeeds entirely in covering up their tracks.
The detective finds clues that lead to the lawbreaker.Elements of a mystery
Clues could be: objects that belong to the criminal or are associated with him (example: a lighter left behind a the crime scene with their initials), the murder weapon itself, fingerprints, clothing, a footprint, a handkerchief, etc.
Some clues may even be in the form of information/statements provided by suspects, witnesses, or other characters.Elements of a mystery
Often times the mystery solver follows suspects, or himself ends up being followed.
Often times there is a chase of some type which heightens the excitement and adventure.
A chase could be physical, but could also be a contest of outwitting each other.Elements of a mystery
The mystery ends with a confession, which is sometimes forced out and sometimes given voluntarily.
Through this the true story emerges and loose ends are cleared up.Elements of a mystery