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!