Hiding the killer in my subconscious by Paty Jager

2017 headshot newEvery mystery book I’ve written, I start out with the firm belief I know who the killer is.

I start preparing for the book by deciding where the main character, Shandra Higheagle is, what she is doing, and how she will come to either discover a body, be in the vicinity of who does find the body, or know the accused murderer.

The next step is making up my suspect chart and writing down what I know and want others to know about each suspect.

With the suspect chart comes red herrings and other characters- friends, family of the suspects and the victim.

Once the chart is done, I evaluate and decide which one would be the least likely to have killed, yet have the best motive. And that’s the character who I start out hiding the information( red herrings and quick mentions of clues that are glossed over) and plan to have be the one who dunit in the end.

Cars on winding road trough the forest aerial viewEvery book so far, the killer has ended up being someone other than I started out to write about.  I’m not sure if its because I do so many twists and turns in who it could be that I confuse myself or that I realize the person I started out as the murderer is too logical, so I do yet another twist and there is my killer! When I go back through the book to put in clues, I always see that I’d added the necessary clues without thinking about it.

All along my subconscious knew who did it while my working brain was busy workingConcept of the human brain on my initial scenario. I love that this happens because it surprises not only me but the reader.  And it means that writing mystery is what I should be doing since my subconscious seems to know my murderous mind better than I do!

Do you like stories with lots of twists and turns or do you like to know who did it and work with the sleuths to prove it?

SH Mug Art

Advertisements

About patyjag

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
This entry was posted in mystery, Paty Jager and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hiding the killer in my subconscious by Paty Jager

  1. marilynm says:

    I like either kind of book as long as it’s well-written.

    Like

  2. “Columbo” is the best example of knowing the killer up front and then finding the clues to prove it. Always fun. I like twists as long as the author plays fair, which most do not. I recently read a book by one of my fave authors in which the killers do not show up or even alluded to until the last 50 pages or so. Bummer. Interestingly, in all of my mysteries, the killer is always the person I select before I start writing. No surprises there. On the second draft I go back to put in more clues and red herrings.

    Like

  3. Amber Foxx says:

    I found your process fascinating. You do so much planning and yet you still surprise yourself. I like mysteries that surprise me. I’m about a third of the way through Anne Hillerman’s latest, Cave of Bones, and so far there’s no murder. A man has disappeared who seems unlikely to have gotten lost. Plenty of surprises, so I’m enjoying the book.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.