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Writing detective fiction - tips 1

Updated on April 8, 2010

Detective Tips

A detective novel is a uniquely interesting form of creative writing. Many writers, it seems, try to do to much with a detective novel and end up with a monstrously overwhelming piece that can simply be too much for the writer, let alone the reader. Over the next few weeks I will provide some simple tips to avoid this:

Don't try and make the novel more than it needs to be. Many writers try to make political statments or social commentaries through their writing. This is not necessary and can often detract from the yarn being spun. This is a detective novel. Take your motivation from the Agatha Christies of this world.

Always help the reader solve the crime. Lead them to the climactic solution. Leaving clue to the identity of the culprit increases the readers enjoyment of the story. You don't want to make it too obvious but leaving it till the last chapter to reveal the pivotal clue will leave the reader feel cheated.

On the same lines never include a twist that is completely unexpected. Readers expect twist and misdirection but too making this too extreme will again leave the audience feeling cheated.

All the clues and twists, as well as the method of detection, should be logical and 'natural'. Very rarely does a good detective need to hold a seance to uncover the culprit! How can the writer expect the reader to even try and work out the potential twists and turns leading to the solution if supernatural methods of detection are employed?

Well that should set you o the right path and there will be more tips in the coming weeks.


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    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Great tips! I look forward to reading more of your tips.