Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sample Mystery Plot Outline

Disclose crime (Some choose to make the crime a whole prologue from the point of view of the victim or the perpetrator) in the most dramatic way possible.
Reveal a clue but don’t bring attention to it
Introduce detective
Introduce Setting

Start the detective on the path to solving the crime by remembering the clue that was notice in chapter one or introducing one. Select suspects and start out interviewing, either obtrusively or unobtrusively. One of them should turn out to be the criminal later on in the story.

Introduce a subplot that affects another part of the sleuth’s life (a new friend, an enemy or higher in rank sleuth, a friend who kisses her complicating their relationship, a sister who reappears).
Reveal facts about some suspects
Find a few more clues that may eliminate one or two suspects but brings one suspect to the forefront

Interview the forefront suspect
Find a clue that shows he/she lie or testimony from other suspects who is also now eliminated
Make the forefront suspect disappear, runaway or die

Everything points to the missing suspect but the detective just feels it doesn’t feel right plus there are some clues that are still unexplained
Provide a climax for a subplot that distracts the sleuth from solving the crime, makes the crime personal or demands that they stop the investigation or a crisis with the crime itself

Now the investigator has a personal stake in solving the crime as a result of the previous crisis(either threat to his life, loved one, emotional attachment).
Broaden the investigation to put suspicion on other suspects. Start to focus your clues towards your solution though try not to make it obvious.

Reveal shocking histories, unexpected characters coming to town, shocking revelations, formerly secret relationships e.g business arrangements, affairs, hidden kinships, and scores to settle. Clarify previous clues that had not been understood. Missing suspect is found (either dead, in a coma or unwilling to talk) but either way is automatically eliminated

Interpretation of found clues leads to a dead end and the sleuth has to review to determine where he/she went wrong making all left suspects equally able to have committed the crime. New clues are only complicating the mystery and not helping in its solution i.e. throw in a twist (e.g. the food isn’t what poisoned the victim). Resolve one of the sub – plots. Remember the clue in chapter one that skipped us and add to what the sleuth knows so far. Sleuth makes a conclusion which is undisclosed to the reader

The sleuth seeks evidence to support the as yet undisclosed conclusion. Two suspects left (you may reveal or not reveal). Sleuth finds something (perhaps it proves that the flimsy alibi of the prime suspect is actually valid). Criminal and the other suspect turns up where sleuth is trying to find evidence.

Dramatic confrontation between sleuth and criminal which the detective will win either by the timely entrance of his best friend who he’d called before, the cops

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