Writing Murder Mysteries

It’s amazing the number of people who tell me not to do murder mysteries as an activity with young writers. The interesting thing I’ve found is that young writers love murder mysteries!

The reason they love it could be creating a puzzle to solve, or it’s just something so different to what they usually create that they have fun whenever I set a murder mystery writing prompt, in fact, they often ask for it.

With this in mind, this morning at the Sale Library we had fun with murder mysteries.

I have a prompt where I give participants four things – victim, location, weapon, clue – and the participants use these to create their mystery. The items are on cards and they pick them from a pile, so you never know what you’ll get.

The instructions are then to create a murder mystery. There have been times the instructions are specific, such as writing a confession, or write something general. This morning, I left it as a general murder mystery.

Writing murder mysteries are fun as you can be quite creative with it. While there is a dead body, some clues, and a mystery, there are many different ways they can be written. You can have fun with the point of view, create a detective with whatever characteristics you like, set it in any time, place, or world you want to create, and make it as serious or funny as you like. You could even write a murder that isn’t actually a murder.

Using this writing prompt, I have had participants writing mysteries in a fantasy setting, mysteries where the victim comes to life using the evidence that was left at the scene, creative reporting, and, of course, unusual detectives.

With a basic prompt and a lot of space, it’s possible to come up with a wonderful story.

If you, or a young writer you know, would like to try this out, come to one of my workshops. You never know what ideas will be sparked. Click here for workshop details.

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About Melissa

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Melissa Gijsbers, Author, Speaker & Booklover
Melissa Gijsbers - Author, Speaker & Booklover
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