Lee Lofland, who reviews the TV show Castle on his blog, and he says he can always guess the killer because it's the character they bring in early, ask a few questions, and dismiss. Don't make the same mistake when writing your mystery novel. While it's important to introduce your murderer relatively early in the story, it shouldn't be obvious.
(2) Don't make your characters do stupid things. Turn on the bloody lights and leave the house! Why are you going into the basement in a nightdress with only a poker?
(3) Seriously, have your character tell someone where they're going. How much time would it take to send a tweet or text message? How often do you hear a detective say: "There's something important I have to do or check out." And then, what a shock, they're alone and in trouble.
(4) Just tell them on the phone already. Ever seen this: The detective receives a phone call from someone who says that they have an important clue but can't divulge it over the phone. Come over at once. So the detective arrives only to find the caller dead on the floor. I know it prolongs the suspense and the length of the novel but why can't you just tell them on the phone.
What are your peeves when it comes to detective/mystery/thriller novels?
Photo: komehachi888 /Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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