I've been following along with writing prompts from Romantic Friday Writers to learn more about adding a little romance to my stories. I'm learning a lot from fellow RFW members, so I was very humbled when Denise invited me to share what I know about mystery writing. Thanks so much for having me here today! I hope what I have to share will help you write that murder for the March challenge.
I've been working on a mystery series for kids, and love reading crime fiction. If I was to pick one element of mystery writing that is essential (and writers sometimes overlook), it would be motive.
Motive is essential because we need to know why the killer was willing to risk everything to commit murder. It is usually the undoing of the criminal, once the detective figures out motive the rest is just comes down to proof. To make it trickier for the detective, every suspect should have a strong motive.
Motive drives every decision and action for your characters. So why did the killer stab Old-man Hubbard in the library with scissors? Is it the struggling writer who received a bad review? The fashion-designer wife who will lose everything in a divorce because of the pre-nupt? Or the wife's lover, too passionate to control his jealousy?
Motive is not just for suspects. The detective needs a strong motive to solve the case. They may face danger, so the motive needs to keep them going, especially if they're an amateur sleuth and not employed to reveal the murderer. Do they need to prove their own innocence, like in The Fugitive?
Here's a few of the top motives, can you think of others?
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