by Annette Young
Murder mystery books are always a popular read and if you take a look in your local bookshop, you will see what I mean. We can learn a lot from published authors of this genre if we take the time to do a little research. For me, browsing through a bookshop is always a delight, in fact it’s hard to get me to leave once I’m browsing the selection of novels and there is without doubt, something so addictive about wandering down rows of published books, reading book covers and getting a feel for the stories within.
Take your time, but once you have chosen any murder mystery books that appeal, then the fun can really start.
Settle back into a comfy armchair and immerse yourself in the plot. Allow yourself to notice how the author spins that intricate murderous web around the characters, the plot and cleverly draws the reader into the story. Re-read the opening sections of the book and those all-important first paragraphs, how did the author capture your attention? Vivid imagery? Murder or a sense of intrigue? Why did the opening section work so well?
As you are reading, try to analyse how the author has kept your interest throughout and how they carefully dangled any red-herrings to throw you off the true plot that has been carefully concealed. A good writer will keep you guessing and this is what makes for a good page turner.
I can appreciate that sometimes it is difficult to analyse whilst enjoying a cleverly crafted plot, and if this is the case, then simply settle back and enjoy the craftsmanship as the plot unfolds. There will be time afterwards to re-read and analyse then.
We should never try to emulate the style of another writer but we can put their published efforts to good use by taking a section of their work and re-writing it (whilst trying to improve it in our own style) or we could even use their characters in a plot of our own.
This is for personal use only and not for publication and it helps you to absorb the necessary skills by using characters or plots that you are completely familiar with now. It’s fun, useful and can give you an insight into the skill of the author and allows you to ascertain your own technique.
As writers, we have productive days and we also have those days when extracting words from our brains is akin to pulling teeth. But researching genres that we instinctively love will help us get past writers block or just churning out fiction without ever progressing fully. Why shouldn’t we learn from those who enjoy publishing success? I know that when I have been writing a story that I have totally enjoyed, the words flow, the ideas strengthen and the time flies by.
So if murder mystery books do it for you, then create a murderous plot of your own and have your own avid readers analyse your skills.