There are five core elements for a well-written mystery story: character, theme, structure, scene and author voice. In this post I will provide a basic definition of each with links to posts that examine each competency more in-depth.
This involves the process an author uses to reveal the personality of a character either directly (author description) or indirectly (the reader must infer what the character is like).
Themes may be major or minor. A major theme is an idea the author returns to frequently in the novel. Minor themes are ideas that may appear a couple of times in the story. For mystery writers a major theme is “crime does not pay.” A minor theme might be “overcoming adversity”—despite failed relationships a character finds a new romance.
At its most basic level, story structure relates to the beginning, middle, and end of your novel. These three elements are the base of the pyramid on which an engaging novel is built. Story structure is the skeleton of a novel. It’s important to ensure the bones are strong enough to support an interesting fleshy story.
Think of each scene as a mini story with a beginning, middle and ending. Effective scenes must provide change that moves the plot forward. Think conflict, tension, suspense, emotional stress.
Authorial voice and character voice are closely connected. A writer’s voice is usually embedded in the way a point-of-view character speaks, thinks and most important in his attitude.
To explore these concepts in greater depth, click on the above links.