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ELA Narrative Mystery Unit
Transcript of ELA Narrative Mystery Unit
World Health Oganization Mysteries: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot/
Science Mysteries: http://www.sciencemystery.com/
Everyday mysteries: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/
FBI Kid's page: http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids Additional resources for Mystery Writing alibi detective red herring motive crime sleuth suspects breakthrough evidence RULES FOR MYSTERY WRITING 1. In mystery writing, plot is everything. Make sure each plot point is plausible, and keep the action moving. Don't get bogged down in back story or go off on tangents. The absolute most important thing is that your reader can follow your sequence. 2. Introduce both the detective and the culprit early on. As the main character, your detective must obviously appear early in the story. You reader will feel cheated if the antagonist (or villain or culprit) enters too late in the book to be a reasonable suspect in their minds. (This doesn’t mean he has to make a personal appearance, but the reader must know of his existence.) The number of suspects must be known, and the culprit must be among them. 3. Introduce the crime quickly, within the first 3-5 paragraphs of your story.You want to hook your reader with the action as soon as possible, and then build suspense as you give piece by piece of the puzzle. 4. The crime should be believable. The details of the crime need to be believable. This includes how it was done, why, and how it was discovered. Your reader will feel cheated if the crime is not something that could really happen. Provide motives for more than one suspect. 5. The crime must be significant… For example, kidnapping, murder, blackmail and theft are significant. It can also be solving a mystery from history or discovering who destroyed valuable property. 6. The detective should solve the case using only rational and scientific methods. There must be detection. The solution must not be stumbled on; it must be sought and found. Your detective, whether amateur or professional, must find clues and use logic to make sense of the clues. 7. The culprit must be capable of committing the crime. Your reader must believe your villain's motivation and the villain must be capable of the crime, both physically and emotionally. 8. In mystery writing, don't try to fool your reader. Again, it takes the fun out. Don't use improbable disguises, twins, accidental solutions, or supernatural solutions. The detective should not commit the crime. All clues should be revealed to the reader as the detective finds them. All clues discovered by the detective must be made available to the reader. (This is where Fair Play comes in.) Nothing extraneous may be introduced. 9. Do your research. Get all essential details right. Learn a bit about forensic science, history and art in order to have a solid background. 10. Wait as long as possible to reveal the culprit. They're reading to find out, or figure out, whodunit. If you answer this too early in the book, the reader will have no reason to continue reading. Top 10 Rules for Mystery Writing
From Ginny Wiehardt, former About.com Guide In your WNB, write the question: How are mysteries different from other narratives? How are they the same. In your small group, come up with 3 bullet answers for each question.