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Posts Tagged ‘murder’

I’ve finally had a break through! I’ve been grappling with the plot of my second novel for the past one week and nothing worthwhile was coming out. There were all these bits of paper strewn about some covered in ink from top to bottom (one of my good days) and some with barely a line written on them (one of the not so good ones). I don’t know about you but I find writing on paper easier when I’m outlining my novels/screenplays. Basically paper works best for me when I’m clearing out my head.

Anyway, frustration was creeping and I had begun scratching on walls.

And finally, yesterday things fell into place. I’m really excited about the story and cannot wait to begin to plunge myself in writing it. There are still some snags and loose ends but I’m sure those will also work themselves out once I start writing and getting into my characters heads – their motivations, deep dark secrets, insecurities etc. Right now they are still just outlines on paper.

When you are writing a murder mystery, there are many things you have to consider. You have to answer at least four basic questions before you can even begin writing. The questions are – What, Who, Why, How. The reason is simple – you have to start seeding it right from the beginning. Even if the crime does not take place right away (though it should, but more on that later), the characters’ actions and whereabouts have to detailed.

Once you have answered what, who, why and how, the rest of the work is relatively easier. You can embellish it with other characters, other prime suspects and their motivations, alibis and red herrings.  It is usually the former that takes much of your time, partly because detective/crime fiction has evolved over the years and every conceivable plot has been done.

So there’s pressure to come up with something novel (read: convoluted plots) without resorting to murdering evil twins, butlers and monkeys/snakes. Also while we are at it other big no-nos are strangers, burglars and the detective himself/herself unless you can come up with an intriguing way of handling it. Impossible, usually. Jeffrey Archer has done it nicely in one of his short stories (it’s about a courtroom drama around a crime of passion. I forget the name of the story and the anthology.).

How I envy Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Those were simpler times.

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