Every 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.
Every 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 working 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?
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