Posted by: nancyisanders | November 29, 2012

Writing a Mystery for a Children’s Magazine: Part 1

When writing a mystery for children in general, there are basic ingredients your story should have:

Problem: A mystery usually starts with a problem that involves a crime or mysterious unknown. Somebody is needed to solve the problem and get all the questions answered. Think whodunit!

*Detective or main character (MC) whose job it is to solve the crime or mysterious problem.
*Suspects: Each one of these must have a valid reason or motive they might have committed the crime or caused the problem. They also must have had the potential opportunity to do it.

Clues: The actual person who committed the crime has to leave a trail of clues that the detective or MC can find.
*Red herring: This is a clue that actually misleads the detective and points to the wrong suspect. A red herring isn’t necessary, but it’s always a plus.

Conclusion: A mystery concludes with the crime being solved and the questions being answered. The reader needs to feel satisfied with how the story ends. The tricky part about the conclusion is that it needs to hold an element of surprise or an ah ha! moment. It can’t be predictable or a magazine won’t publish it.

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