Clarissa is doing a big giveaway on today's post. One lucky commenter will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. If you haven't yet purchased your copy of THE SHOLES KEY, please say so in your comment - she is giving away two copies of her book in your choice of print or ebook.
Whether you are a mystery writer--like me--or you write another genre, you must provide your readers with a mystery. Each book should have questions, a mystery for the reader to decipher.
Will Romeo & Juliet be together in the end?
Will Luke learn the Force? Will he defeat Darth Vadar?
What is Rosebud?
(1) Too many questions
It's wonderful to ask your readers to solve a difficult mystery. However, give them enough clues to solve it. If you don't and then add more questions (mysteries) or give them an out-of-the-blue solution, your reader will find it impossible to keep up with the story, lose interest, become frustrated and give up.
(2) Too many answers
You can't make it too easy either--predictable means boring. They will feel cheated because they haven't been challenged.
(3) The right amount
Keep the reader guessing. Give them a good mystery but just when they think they've solved it, something comes up to make them question their answer.
What story have you read lately that kept you guessing? Kept you reading to find out what would happen in the end?
Clarissa Draper, a Canadian currently living in Mexico, spends most of her time composing, planning, and writing code-based mysteries. Although she has written from an early age, she started writing full time in 2006, and is currently writing her third mystery in the Evans/Blackwell series.
The Sholes Key Summary:
All across London, single mothers are vanishing. Margaret Hill, mother of two, walked out of her house two months before, never seen again. A month later, Carrie-Anne Morgans takes her two-year-old son for a walk in the park and disappears, leaving him alone in his stroller. Lorna McCauley leaves her London flat in the early hours of the morning to buy medicine for her sick child and does not return.
Newly promoted Detective Inspector Theophilus Blackwell is assigned the case of Lorna McCauley, which on the outside seems to be a simple case of mid-life crisis and child abandonment. Elsewhere in London, MI5 analyst, Sophia Evans, is working undercover to catch an animal rights group responsible for targeted bombings. As Sophia's case (and her personal life) fall to pieces, she receives a strange envelope in the mail. It contains a picture of Lorna McCauley's lifeless face along with a daunting code.
Now the police and MI5 are forced to work together to stop the murders, and Sophia must find her way into the terrifying mind of a serial killer.