As an aspiring author and beginning novelist, you may be looking for information on how to write a mystery novel. There is plenty of information out there for you in the form of books and lots of information online. But although it's very important to know what to do, it's also extremely crucial to know what to avoid as well. So here are 5 common mistakes you should avoid.
1. The first thing not to do is don't fail to grab your reader's attention from the very first line of the very first page. It's quite common for novice authors to begin chronologically and not want to start right at a moment of action. Then they'll be describing some scenery and losing readers left and right. Engage the reader immediately or they will not bother to read your novel.
2. This leads us to problem number two in your mystery novel which is too much description in general. Your reader will simply begin skimming. You must introduce the conflict of the novel and introduce the protagonist. You must make the reader care. They don't care about a bunch of lengthy descriptions.
3. The next issue is not giving your characters believable motivations and having them act in believable ways. You must know your characters before you start to write.
4. Dropping too many clues and too many "red herrings" in your mystery novel is another mistake. Everything needs to flow logically, and your clues should be interspersed as the book progresses, not thrown about willy nilly in an effort to cause confusion.
5. Deliberately misleading the reader. There is actually a fine line here. You obviously need some suspense because after all, it is a mystery, and you do need that red herring mentioned above. But don't go out of your way to throw something out there that, 3 chapters later. is shown to be totally unrelated to the story in any way. A lot of people will get angry and toss your book down in disgust. So meticulous planning is required on your part with the use of foreshadowing which gives readers a few "real" clues to lead them along and allow them to try and figure things out. After all, that's why people read mysteries and "whodunits," to try and figure them out.
You will not believe how quick and painless it can be to get that novel finished and ready to go to the publisher.