Hello, lovelies! I hope you are all doing well this fine day! Currently I am waiting between classes and I thought what better way to spend my time than writing a fun blog post about the various odd tips and facts I’ve found out while working on my precious baby of a novel. For those of you who have been lucky enough to not hear me ramble about my novel for minutes on end, I am writing a YA Fantasy Mystery centered around the attempted murder of Snow White. And boy has it been a project.
Now normally, I fall down many research rabbit holes on a pretty regular basis when writing. But this little problem has worsened as I’ve gotten into writing the genre of crime and mystery. Mostly because there’s just a lot to research in general. But let’s try and a narrow it down a bit in order to aid any future crime/mystery writers reading this.
1. Research guns
There is so much variety in the gun world. And you don’t have to know everything there is to know, but if you are having one of your characters pull out a pistol, you should know a little bit about how a pistol works and the basic parts of a gun. Again, it doesn’t have to be strangely specific. Just have a general knowledge.
2. Research poisons if you plan on using them.
Especially their potency, appearance, side effects, and the amount of time they take to cause death. Agatha Christie’s novels were so accurate describing poison and its effects that people could use her books as a poison reference manual. And while you don’t have to be that iconically precise, just like with guns, you should have a basic knowledge of how your choice of poison works and its effects on people.
3. Research signs of specific deaths.
This should go without saying but if your detective identifies your victim as having been strangled, there should be some physical signs of this. The same with drowning. Or suffocation.
Basically whatever means of death or weaponry you employ, research it. Just in case.
Now let’s get to some more general tips about writing crime or mystery stories all together.
1. Work backwards
Try your best to keep your story straight and have a clear timeline in your head. One way to develop this is work backwards from your crime. Start with the crime and then slowly work your way to the clues for your main character to pick up on. This also helps you from writing yourself into glaring plot holes concerning the functionality of your specific crime.
2. Don’t agonize
All that being said, don’t agonize too long over every single detail not being filled in concerning your story. It just has to generally make sense. If one wanted to get picky, I bet you could pick out plot holes in Sherlock Holmes and his deductions but at the end of the day, it’s not about being 10000000% accurate and precise. It’s about telling a story.
3. You get better with practice
It felt overwhelming at first trying to keep track of all my characters and clues when writing but over time, my story became clearer and clearer to me. And this was all done by actually writing it out and working through specific problems and scenes by getting them out on paper. So if you feel a little scatterbrained or find yourself agonizing over your crime story, don’t worry. Just like with everything, it gets easier with practice.
Alrighty! I think that’s it! Hope you found something useful in this little list of tips! Thanks for reading & Happy writing!