Posted by: nancycurteman | January 11, 2011

How a Partner Sleuth Will Spice up Your Mystery Novel

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Creating a partner for a mystery novel protagonist will dramatically spice up your storyline. It can add a whole new dimension of humor and complexity to your novel. It can double the excitement, broaden the hero, and add interesting and varied new perspectives. Think Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Here are some examples of possible partner sleuths that are sure to spice up your mystery novel:

• Opposites make interesting partners. For example, a conservative middle-class accountant might have a partner sleuth who’s a streetwise African-American brought up in Harlem. This pairing could produce a lot of surprise and humor.

• In a cozy mystery in which the protagonist is an amateur sleuth, it’s important that she have a willing or—even better–an unwilling  partner sleuth who is affiliated with the legal profession in some way. For example, a schoolteacher might have a friend (partner sleuth) who’s a detective.

• The partner sleuth of a priest might be a petty thief. Maybe they were altar boys as kids. Life led them in different directions, but they stayed loyal to their childhood friendship. Imagine the kind of complications in this situation.

• Another fun partnering is the off beat type. Consider a struggling female private investigator who used to be a stripper and her closest friend was a big, hulking cross dresser. Think of the possibilities.

The world is full of interesting partner-sleuth pairings. The more farfetched the pairing the better. Create partner sleuths and spice up your mystery novel.

More Writing Tips:

Developing Characters is No Mystery
How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel

Photo: Photobucket

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Responses

  1. What a good idea. I know just where to put it too, if I ever get back to writing.
    thanks.

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  2. […] Creating a partner for a mystery novel protagonist will dramatically spice up your storyline. It can add a whole new dimension of humor and complexity to your novel. It can double the excitement, broaden the hero, and add interesting and varied new perspectives. Think Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Here are some examples of possible partner sleuths that are sure to spice up your mystery novel: • Opposites make interesting partners. For example, a co … Read More […]

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  3. You make some very fine suggestions for partner-sleuths. Thank you for this interesting idea for spicing up a mystery. Blessings to you, Nancy…

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  4. I use a partner (or a contrary voice in the head) to also be a sounding board. That is, as a way to say to the reader what I cannot come right out and say directly. Sometimes (as often happened in Doyle’s Holmes), Sherlock would explain something to Watson, and thus to the reader, without the heavy-handedness of a narrator explaining.

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  5. Dang it – Rick beat me to it. The best reason to have a partner is so the detective can have someone to whom he can explain his deductions. Otherwise he is talking to a wall.

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  6. I like this post a lot. One of the things that I am attempting to do is to incorporate a partner into my present novel. Right now he is on the outside, begging to be put in. He is going to figure prominently in the scenes that I am planning to right tonight. Your ideas will go a long way towards helping me. Thank you.

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  7. Good article on finding voice. A very intangible thing. I will continue to pursue it using some of your tips.

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