Writing a Novel (A beginner’s guide to writing a mystery novel)

If you are planning to write a mystery novel, and you already have a strong desire to begin on working on the first chapter, you may wish to consider the following steps to save time, avoid disappointment, and prevent having to produce tons of rewriting later on.

1. Create a timeline for your story, making sure that the death, or murder, is the central event of the story. Specify the whereabouts of all the characters involved at the time of the crime. With this approach, the creation of alibis will be trouble-free. You can thus also avoid the mistake of putting a character in two different locations at the same time. Determine the period of time the story will occur in. When the action takes place in a limited scope of time, the story can be more suspenseful.

2. You must be able to write a concise biographical sketch about each character in the story. The most common practice is to start with the three most important characters, which includes the detective, the victim and the person who is narrating the story, if the narrator is one of the characters. The backgrounds of new characters that enter the story should also be added. Always consider giving appropriate names to the characters since proper names add intensity to the personality of each character.

3. Do not create separate files for each chapter; all your drafts must be stored in a single word processing file. The revision process can be done much more easily if everything is placed in a whole single file. This is because the possibility of misplacing your data or accidentally rearranging chapters can be avoided.