Building Mystery…

I have a long history of reading. After all, I’ve been reading since I was four. In my teens, I read mostly mysteries, especially by Iris Johansen or James Patterson. I always thought back then that I couldn’t tackle writing a mystery myself. There were too many moving parts, too many surprises to work in without the reader expecting them, too much foreshadowing to massage into the text. It seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.

Here I am, ten years later, about to make an attempt at writing a mystery.

It’s true, there are a ton of moving parts. It is a bit intimidating, and at today’s date I feel like I’m nowhere near plotted enough, prepared enough to tackle this thing yet. Even with some help from a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog.

I still don’t know what my main character’s motive is. I don’t know who the suspects will be, especially since the actual culprit will have a supernatural nature to it, which will add a pinch of horror into the mix. I think the readers might know that for a while, but then I wonder if that would spoil it. I don’t know when my main character is going to figure out what’s going on. Or when she’s going to get off of her high horse and think that the story she’s writing is not as insufferably boring as she thought it was.

Ultimately though, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to terrifying my main character out of her snarky, bad-tempered attitude. I’m looking forward to using her journalist occupation to annoy the authorities and lack of expertise with sleuthing to land her in bad situations. I’m looking forward to making sure she gets out of them alive, even if she ends up a little worse for wear afterward. I’m looking forward to crafting back stories for the crimes that occurred in the past that everyone is trying to cover up. I’m looking forward to thinking up the culprit and how it ended up at the resort.

So, am I nervous for trying my first hand at a mystery? Definitely. It doesn’t make it any less exciting. Not to mention this is my first tiptoe into any kind of horror, even though this story will only have a tinge. I’m no expert on horror and often don’t feel I have the type of imagination for it. I’ve really only read Stephen King (who is arguably a master of horror, not to mention characterization and character-building) and that’s where my reading experience with horror ends. It could come to finishing this novel and peer review and someone tells me it’s CareBear horror. Oh well. I tried, right?

At this point, it’s NaNoWriMo. It’s about experimentation, about doing things you haven’t before. And I’m stepping into an entirely new genre. I’m expecting it be a fun ride.

Do you ever completely step out of your usual genre when writing fiction? If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, are you writing a story that’s beyond your comfort zone? Let me know in the comments.

Previous NaNoWriMo prep posts:

Building Setting

Building Characters


4 thoughts on “Building Mystery…

  1. Charleen says:

    One of my NaNo ideas I wanted it to be sort of a science fiction thriller… only the science fiction aspect was the main twist. So I was torn between wanting it to be a total shock, and alienating those who would be upset that the ultimate conclusion was something beyond our current technology (when nothing in the rest of the book really pointed to it). So I definitely get your predicament about the supernatural/horror element. Good luck getting it all sorted!


    • Samantha says:

      I think that it shouldn’t be a total shock that it’s something supernatural, and the main character doesn’t know it until halfway (or 3/4) through the book, but the reader does. But they don’t know exactly what “it” is, either.

      Thanks, Charleen! 😀


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