Monday, January 18, 2016

Mystery, Mayhem, and Motives by Paty Jager

Starting the next Shandra Higheagle mystery. I love this part of the process.

Photo of Lostine River taken by me.
The "Suspect" chart is made. I list the murder victim, how he died and possibly why. Sometimes I know by who, but this time I'm leaving that to come out as the clues unravel. Next on the chart are the names of suspects, their motives, and the red herrings that will have the reader thinking it's one when it is someone else. (rubbing hands in glee) Yes, this part of mystery writing is the most fun. Laying the little tidbits that makes one character look more guilty than another. Yet, keeping all the clues believable so when the real killer is revealed in the end the reader doesn't feel like it was thrown in just to spite them. ;)

Motives. Those are as fun to come up with as the characters who have a reason to dislike and even want a character dead. Giving each secondary character a bit of back story with the murder victim helps to not only make their reason for "offing" the victim ring true it gives me, the writer, a clearer picture of the victim. Knowing the victim helps me to come up with the reasons a person or persons would want them dead.

Then it's making the motives, the clues, the actions of the characters all kind of like a sleight of hand as a magician would do. I dribbled out the truth but cover it up with misdirection and fluff that makes the reader forget the truth. Yes, writing a mystery book is a bit like a magic trick.

The best part about this happens on a ski slope, so now I'm off to figure out how the victim will die and what can be clues.

I can't think of a better way to spend a Monday. Can you?


DONITA Mickle said...

I am excited there is another book in the series!
All of your books are hard to put down to go work,or clean the house!!!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Don! I have about ten more planned in this series. Ideas just keep coming. ;) I love that I keep people up at night reading or not wanting to go to work. It means, I put together a good read. Thanks for stopping in!