Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How
These are the six facts I’ve been trying to piece together for my latest murder mystery novel I’m trying to create. Those words are the words I was told to answer numerous times on several English tests all through school. In elementary school I learned the tale about the Three Little Pigs. Answering the six questions of that time was easy. Who? The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. What? The Three Little Pigs each build up their own homes by using thee different type of materials. Where? I always imagined in field because pigs are farm animals, right? When? During the day so they could see. Why? The pigs needed a place to sleep. How? One pig used straw, one pig used sticks, and the other pig used bricks. Those are easy questions for a young mind to answer and the tale is pretty straight forward with providing the answers. Some details are assumed, but that’s alright for simple stories to allow some freedom with the reader’s imagination. The same cannot be said for a murder mystery.
While trying to answer these questions through my latest novel I realized I will have to answer these questions many times in different ways. Who is the main man of my story? Who is he going to speak with during the investigation? Who are the suspects? Who am I going to make as the true criminal? What happened to cause the death? What brought my main character into the mystery? What makes the boy’s death so mysterious? Where did his death occur? Where were any of the witnesses? Where did they find the boy? Where does the case need to take them? When did he die? When was his body found? When did the murderer plan to kill him? When did they discover the truth? Why was he murdered? Why does a private investigation need to take place? Why is the woman professor so important to the case? Why does she hold clever reasoning for her ideas? How did the murder happen? How was the boy discovered? How will the investigator solve the case? All those questions need to be answered all through the novel at different points. Sometimes the answers may not even be clear right away. Murder mysteries require more tasks to be accomplished by the author than a calm romantic story. It’s not always easy but I can promise it’s always exciting!
What is the most difficult stage to completing your job?