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Blog Gillian Cross' Top Mystery Writing Tips

Gillian Cross' Top Mystery Writing Tips

By Gillian Cross | Activities, Author, Family, Guest Blog, Kids, Parents, Teachers, Writing Tips

Gillian Cross' Top Mystery Writing Tips

To celebrate the release of Ollie Spark and the Accidental Adventure, Gillian Cross shares with you some amazing mystery writing tips...

I love writing mysteries, like the Ollie Spark books. If you fancy writing one of your own, here are my top tips:

😲 The end has to be a surprise. It’s no good if readers guess it long before they get there.

🏰 But a totally surprising end is no good either. It has to fit the story and feel right. If you’re writing a mystery set in a castle, for example - with lost treasure and creaking suits of armour – you can’t suddenly change everything and finish like this: Then the world was invaded by aliens. They’d faked a mystery to distract us, while they took over the Earth!

🕵️ A satisfying mystery has clues all the way through, little hints that come together at the end, so the reader thinks: Of course! I should have guessed!

👀 And the characters are just as important as the plot. Through whose eyes does the reader see those clues? Which characters can be trusted?

📓 Some people plan all that before they actually start writing. But you don’t have to. I write a first draft, working out the main events of the plot and getting to know the characters. Then I go back and rewrite, adding extra little hints and cutting out anything that spoils the tension.

You can do whichever suits you best. But whatever you do – have fun with your mystery. Happy writing!

A huge thank you to Gillian for her mystery writing tips! You find out more about Gillian and her work at her website and follow her on Twitter.

Published: Tue 11th Jan 2022

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