How to write a mystery picture book

Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Klems May 15, When plotting my new mystery and suspense novel Ghost Maven, I was inspired by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, whom I have written three books about.

How to write a mystery picture book

This is just one of many pages on this site about how to write different types of fiction. How to write a mystery that will knock them dead Good mysteries are also good novels. They have memorable characters, an exciting plot, lively dialogue and writing that "shows" instead of "tells". You can build muscle in all of these areas by taking CWN online fiction courses.

How mysteries are special: The plot is centered around a crime, normally murder. At the same time, a mystery is often set up as a kind of puzzle or game for readers, who analyze clues and try to solve the mystery themselves.

The main character is normally the person trying to solve the crime. This may be an actual detective, or private citizen who gets involved for personal reasons. The best mystery writers have sleuths professional or amateur who come alive on the page and often reappear in multiple books.

The authors use descriptive writing to create suspense and, often, an atmosphere of danger. In addition to bringing readers into the story, "showing-instead-of-telling" techniques allow the readers the fun of finding clues on their own and developing their own suspicions.

How to Write a Mystery, Writing Thrillers |

How to write a mystery - top tips Read lots of mysteries. This is essential to learning how to write a mystery novel.

Some mystery writers I personally like are Sue Grafton, P. James, Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie. Books that win the Edgar Award for mystery-writing are usually very good.

Create a great professional or amateur sleuth. You can use the CWN worksheet for writing character profiles to start bringing the character to life.

Map out exactly how the crime was committed. Give the murderer a clear and convincing motive. Know the ending of the book in advance.

Then you can build toward it. Make a list of clues that point to the murderer, which you will scatter throughout the book.

Decide which is the crucial clue that will solve the mystery. Consider including red herrings in your list of clues.

These are false clues that point in the wrong direction. Make a list of suspects. Play fair with the readers.

Language & Lit

Whatever clues are available to the sleuth should also be shown to the reader. Readers who are "competing" against the detective and trying to solve the mystery on their own will feel cheated if the detective has key information that is being kept from them.

Try to surprise the reader at the end, but always play fair.


The clues presented in the story should logically lead to the solution, even if you distract the reader with red herrings along the way. Readers will love it if your ending makes them think, "I should have known it!Mystery novels work a lot like any other genre, except that mystery writers murder their imaginary friends.

To paraphrase the Hoover campaign promise, a mystery novel will deliver “a corpse in every pot.” (Mystery authors are twisted. A mystery in a crowded metropolis must deal with a multitude of potential witnesses and suspects. One taking place in a less populated area has fewer possibilities, but greater interaction among the people.

Author/illustrator Ellen Stohl Walsh has a great series of picture book mysteries about two mice, Dot and Jabber, who must solve mysteries dealing with nature.

7 Tips on Writing Great Mystery and Suspense Novels | Readers can follow Ike's pawprints into the dark alleyways of Snort City as this doggie detective tries to solve the crime and clear his reputation. Letters From Obedience School.
25 Things You Need To Know About Writing Mysteries, By Susan Spann – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds Wednesday, September 3, Picture Books Permalink Mysteries in a Picture Book Picture book mysteries are rarely for the pre-school set; instead, the audience is the early grades, K
Create a List We might as well get that straight from the outset.
Character Worksheets Classics like Corduroy, The Lorax, or Goodnight Moon continue to engage new young readers and delight older ones — while many intrepid picture book fans strive to add their own creative works to the canon.
Writer's Digest Magazine Letters From Obedience School.

In the Mystery of the Missing Stream, a storm knocks limbs and leaves into the stream, drying it up. Dot and Jabber must travel upstream to find and dislodge this dam. Trying your hand at writing thrillers – the most exciting and suspenseful of all genres?

Look no further for guidelines on crafting a compelling plot, creating incredible characters, constructing an airtight mystery, and .

Books to Support a Mystery Genre Study.

how to write a mystery picture book

By Beth Newingham. Choose from read-alouds, guided reading books, and professional books. Picture Book Mysteries.

This professional book explores nine different types of writing including mysteries, short stories, and biographies, using excerpts, definitions, suggested books, and innovative cross. (Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Gei) During a visit to the art museum, a little piglet and her grandfather investigate the disappearance of several paintings.

Clues in the illustrations give readers a chance to solve the mystery along with the heroine.

10 Tips For Creating Your First Children's Picture Book | BookBaby Blog