Writing a mystery novel plot outline

Those numbers are approximate. At the moment I have more than 56 cards, and the scenes are going to vary in length. Some are going to be longer--much longer--and some much shorter.

Writing a mystery novel plot outline

Stay up to date with the most popular posts on Writer's Edit. Try a few techniques and see what works for you. This works within minor plot points as well. If you know you want character B to disappear and the other characters to end up in a boat before moving onto the next scene, brainstorm with that end in mind.

Depending on your story and how you like to work, the timeline could take on several forms. Kyla examines the useful novel outlining process for writers.

Use your imagination and check below for notes on characters, setting and plot. When deciding the duration between events, remember realistic limitations of time.

For example, there is time lost when travelling, or when there are so many meals a person can eat or disasters a person can prevent realistically in one day.

Lines are more difficult to edit than lists, but a good trick to keep your line flexible is to use index cards or sticky notes that can be easily shuffled and switched around.

If you are limited for space, Scrivener and Aeon Timeline are two programs popular with writers for this and other purposes. Alternately, the story could be several threads converging to one point, like the musical Into The Woods.

Just like tree rings, each circle you draw can represent another segment of time. Explore Your Character Arcs Character profiles are useful in the initial planning stage. However, when outlining your novel, you need to go beyond this static document.

Character arcs show the change or growth a character goes through, and the stages required to get there. Make a list of any changes you want the character to go through, or changes they need to go through to achieve the profile.

Then, check the plot and make another list of possible changes story events could cause in your character, making note of which changes you want. If the two lists are contradictory, you may need to reassess your character or plot, or be prepared to work hard and write a character that is believably contradictory.

From here, you can continue with the list form, or use a line, mind-map or paragraph to detail out your character arc. For characters that go through significant change, or for stories that look closely at human psyche, you may want to do several mini character profiles. Character arcs can then be used to flesh out your plot.

Kyla explores the importance of setting and its relationship with plot. Establish Your Settings Setting is vital to every story.

It helps a reader fall into your fiction world, even if your story is set in Earth-as-we-know-it. It can also be critical to the plot: Little Red may never have met the Wolf.

The setting also tells the reader about your characters. The same way you have character profiles, settings need profiles too. Before you get to know your setting, you need to choose your setting.

Setting is tightly linked to plotprimarily affecting what is possible. Does a character need to be or feel trapped? Go for a fort, boarding school, or a safe house in the middle of nowhere. Usually your story will take place in more than one setting, so go through your plot and make note of the best setting for each scene.

writing a mystery novel plot outline

When you start working on details of your setting, you may already have an idea in your mind. Victorian mansion, sea cliffs, military base, Sydney Opera House. Even if you feel familiar with the setting, go around with a camera or search images online.Sara Rosett is the author of twenty mysteries.

She writes the Ellie Avery mystery series and the Murder on Location series, which are cozy mysteries of the "whodunit" variety in the tradition of Agatha Christie.

To help you successfully complete your book in 30 days, here are nine worksheets to help you keep track of plot, scenes, characters and revisions. All of these worksheets originally appeared in Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt and were also featured in the special issue Write Your Novel in 30 Days.

Solve the MYSTERY of how to write and sell a KILLER story! With the help of interactive exercises, mystery author and crime fiction critic Hallie Ephron gives you the momentum you need to turn a kernel of an idea into an intriguing mystery novel.

You'll learn to capitalize on your writing strengths and shore up your weaknesses. A plot device is a means of advancing the plot in a story. It is often used to motivate characters, create urgency, or resolve a difficulty. This can be contrasted with moving a story forward with dramatic technique; that is, by making things happen because characters take action for well-developed reasons.

Novel writing software programs are a great resource for helping you turn your initial story ideas into a well-written, compelling novel. The biggest advantage of the three I review below is that they will help you discover where you want to go with your novel and who your characters are so that when you sit down to write the whole process is much easier and more effective.

Mystery novels work a lot like any other genre, except that mystery writers murder their imaginary friends. To paraphrase the Hoover campaign promise, a mystery novel will deliver “a corpse in every pot.” (Mystery authors are twisted. We might as well get that straight from the outset.) Mystery.

Plot (narrative) - Wikipedia