Friday, June 03, 2005

Writing Mysteries

Do you have questions or comments about writing the perfect murder mystery? Post them here.

42 comments:

BunniBabe said...

I love writing stories,exspecially murder mystery ones.The problems is i'm not very good at starting the story off.Does anyone have any tips?

The Chief Inspector said...

Hi, Hannah. Work in reverse. First envision a body someplace. Imagine how it got there and the cause of the person's death. Then, figure out who would have wanted to murder that person. From there, the story will start to flow. Happy writing!

mystrav said...

A friend and I are writing a mystery game and we have our decedent, cause of death and have developed our characters. Do all characters need means, motive, and opportunity? All of ours do - we don't know who the murderer is going to be yet. We are at the point of trying to tie everything together - i.e. who reveals what about whom and at what point in the story. Is there an easy organized process for this?

The Chief Inspector said...

Mystrav, I can't give away all of my sleuthing secrets. However, in a good mystery party plot, everyone has a MOTIVE, several parties have the MEANS, BUT . . . (and here's one of my mystery party writing secrets) . . . only one suspect has the OPPORTUNITY.

So, OPPORTUNITY becomes the key to the investigation. You must, of course, cloud this opportunity with well-thought-out red herrings, misdirections and all other plot twists that make life worthwhile.

I plan on expanding on this on the Mystery Cruise.

Good luck!

RichardR said...

I need ideas for a mystery in a 400 seat theater in a small town and the program has to include a 15 to 20 youngster fiddle orchestra. Sky's the limit - more humorous than scary -
planning an annual performance - local actors and musicians - barbershop quarter is available (I'm the Bass) -
overall event is just for Fun with proceeds to charity and expenses.
I only have two monthes, theater date dis 20 August!

The Chief Inspector said...

Wow, richardr, sounds like an exciting event. "Death in them thar hills" has been used successfully by groups of several hundred people. You may want to check out the references on my website to see how others have incorporated it into large gatherings.

Anonymous said...

I host annual tea parties each year for aboutt 24 ladies. WIll you be developing a tea based mystery any time soon?

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for the input. I don't have one on the books, but I keep track of what my customers are looking for. It's a great idea for the future.

Lioness Betsy said...

We purchased "Death in Them Thar Hills last year as a fund raiser for the Lioness Club in Marshalltown, Iowa. We served over 200 guests a complete meal. Since most of us had never even seen one of these, it took some planning, but it was a complete success, with our guests asking us to do it again this year. So, now we are looking for another GREAT mystery. (We cleared over $2000 for our Charitable Fund.)

The Chief Inspector said...

Great, Betsy! I'm pleased it went so well. DITTH is my most popular mystery and has been used by many similar groups. Let me know if I can help you with your next event.

cruise said...

Nice blog

Anonymous said...

Question. We have 50 people who will attend and be inspectors but have no roles. we have 32 clues. Should I copy the 32 clues again and give out doubles or should I only give 32 people clues thanks dave

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for your question. By all means you can have duplicate clues. In your case, you'll have to reproduce an additional 18. The event will still work for you.

NanaGlen said...

I have NEVER done a murder mystery party before but I am very intrigued. How does it work? Do we have costumes? Are they sent the information ahead of time to start working on their role? I would love to do one for my birthday in August but have no idea where to start.

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for your questions. The vast majority of my customers have never staged a murder mystery before. I haven't lost one yet - they're all alive and well. A lot of your questions can be answered by downloading the sample instructions at:
www.mysteries-on-the-net.com/hills_instructions.pdf

WMerical said...

I couldn't make the cruise & I'm not sure about writing my own murder mysteries when yours are so perfect and complete. I only visited this log out of curiosity and to see if you have any hidden ideas you're working on. Because if you need an idea, I'm extremely interested in a coffee/tea mystery theme. Thank you!

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for your question, Wanda. In the works are my luau mystery and a historical mystery based in Kansas City. A golf mystery is also on the books for next year. I listen to my customers, so I'll keep your idea in mind.

Anonymous said...

hi! your website is great! I'm looking for a specific type of mystery game-winter themed (not Christmas) and roles for 12 or so females. since I haven't found any, do you have any suggestions for rewriting male parts? is it possible? thanks

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for your question. Sorry, I don't have anything that will work for you. If you want to try to write your own event, check out my mystery party writing system at www.writeamystery.com. Good luck!

Pamela said...

Help...I need a good murder mystery for a dinner production, fund raiser. This is to celebrate the 30th year of our local symphony. I have never hosted anything like this before but feel it will be a fun way to raise money for our orchestra. Any advice??

The Chief Inspector said...

Pamela, Thanks for your question. "Death in them thar hills" has been used successfully by many fundraising groups. Take a look at it.

Anonymous said...

hiya i want 2 hold a really great and scary murder party but dont know how to do it get it started what 2 wear or get please work out something reslly awsome
thanx chaza

W said...

my friend and i are completely writing our own murder mystery party. mostly, i want to know how to keep people engaged as the party goes on. and what are the best clues (audio, written clues, props, etc.) any tips would be helpful! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Do you have any mysteries that have a banking theme to them? We do one at our Chapter meeting that is for Credit Unions.

Credit Union Queen

Anonymous said...

Hello,

We have a Halloween party scheduled this year for 20 people. We will be celebrating birthdays for two of them (man and woman) and would like to make them the most suspicious if possible. (The man is going to be dressed as the Joker, don't know about the woman.) No garantees that everyone will show up of course but 14 are definely going to be here. We would like to use real physical clues if possible (like blood, body, etc..) My daughter already has an inspector costume too. What do you suggest? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Good evening,
Do you think it is possible to get these murder mistery games in Afrikaans?
I am looking for a game for my dauthers bridal shower but we are all afrikaans and to be honest, some are more afrikaans than others. (joke)
Please help me

The Chief Inspector said...

A unique problem, indeed. Alas, my mysteries are only available in English. I even checked Google Translate and Afrikaans isn't an option. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks, Anomymous.

Mature inspectors have a larger knowledge base upon which to draw.

Anonymous said...

I will not agree on it. I assume polite post. Specially the title attracted me to be familiar with the intact story.

The Chief Inspector said...

I, of course, refer to myself as the mature inspector and I learn more as I write more mysteries and talk to people. Hopefully, this is shared with others in a way that all can enjoy.

Pat said...

I took Jack's Mystery Writing Boot Camp earlier this year and have since written 2 kids party scripts. They both were tremendously successful! The first was a take-off of Jack's "Death Bemoans Her" and the other became a cowboy-themed birthday party, instead of games,the kids received prizes for doing "chores" (i.e. milkin' millie the cow for Bovine Betty & steer ropin' for Matt Maverick)for all of the 8 suspected low-down, dirty-rotten outlaws.

I, too, love to write - thanks to Jack, I think I have found my niche.

Jody Van Ness said...

I am looking for a murder mystery with a script for seven readers. We had one game in the past which included scripts, clues, and audio to play at the end of each round. I want it without explicit sexual innuendo. Can anyone suggest a source for me?

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Dave Mullan said...

I'm working on my fourth mystery, this time for a large group in Canberra, Australia. I wonder if there is another mystery writer in ACT or NSW who might like to collaborate on this project, as I am based in New Zealand.

DCI Dave Mullan, colcom.press@clear.net.nz

Alibaba said...

Do you have mysteries for only 5 (max 7) people? Could you list your mysteries by size as well please?

Anonymous said...

We have 15-20 people coming which game will be best for halloween?

The Chief Inspector said...

Take a look at "Evil Never Dies." It'll work great!

Anonymous said...

I want to host some kind of a who done it for a progressive Christmas party that will have 12 people. Since I am the last house shd I mail a character to each person prior to the evening -I will stage a murder scene at my home and intend to have a few props for each person and read their "History" aloud. I am going to make the characters relevant to our group/some x rated - any thoughts?

The Chief Inspector said...

Thanks for the questions. Although you could spring the mystery on people at the last minute, sending out the roles in advance will make things easier.

Take a look at the "Sample Instructions" in the bottom line of buttons on the home page. They'll give you an insight into how I recommend organizing an event. (I modify them regularly based upon the situation.)

The x-rated parts you'll have to do. My mysteries are no worse than PG-13. Since the downloads are .PDFs, you'll have to do some copying and pasting to add to the roles.

Good luck!

The Chief Inspector said...

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That’s when the Earliest Bird Discount for our June Mystery Writing Boot Camp ends. What other important deadline could there be?

Until then, you’ll receive $100 off of the Regular Registration and $50 off of the Associate Registration for the June 13th thru 15th Mystery Writing Boot Camp here in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

JUST THINK OF IT!

You’ll have the pleasure of writing your very own Murder Mystery Party while enjoying the amenities of a 19th-century inn located in a community that Forbes Magazine identified as one of America’s “eleven prettiest towns.”

FIND OUT MORE AT:

www.mysterywritingbootcamp.com

Then, begin plotting and planning your unforgettable, historic excursion into mystery writing and warm Wisconsin days near the shores of Lake Michigan.

Roberto Chocolate said...

The link www.mysteries-on-the-net.com/hills_instructions.pdf
does not work. Suggestions?