Can You Solve the Mystery? Clues for Writing Your Own Mystery Clue #1: Begin with THE PROBLEM. What is the mystery you want solved? Is someone or something missing? Did someone steal something? Was there a murder? Clue #2: Decide on WHERE and WHEN you want your story set. Is this a modern-day mystery or one that is set in a specific time in the past (say, for instance, the Wild West)? Will your mystery occur here in the United States or somewhere else? Big city or small town? Clue #3: Create your SUSPECT(S). Who committed this crime? Is he/she a hardened criminal or is he/she someone who has no previous criminal record? What does he/she look like? How old is your suspect? How did he/she get mixed up in this situation in the first place? How would you describe his/her personality? Did he/she have an accomplice? What is his/her alibi for the time of the crime? What does he/she sound like? What does he/she say? (INCLUDE SUFFICIENT DIALOGUE) Clue #4: Create your INVESTIGATOR or DETECTIVE. Is he/she an official detective or someone like Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown who sees solving mysteries as a hobby? How many cases has your detective solved? Does he/she work alone or does he/she have a “sidekick”? What does he/she look like? How old is he/she? How would you describe his/her personality? Does he/she work within the perimeters of the law or does he/she take matters in his/her own hands in order to solve the case? What does he/she sound like? What does he/she say? (INCLUDE SUFFICIENT DIALOGUE) Clue #5: Outline the CLUES that will lead your detective to solving the case. Will you have witnesses who can offer clues to the case? What did someone leave behind that offers information about the case? What did someone say that leads the detective to the right answer? Who has an alibi and who does not? Clue #6: Outline the DISTRACTORS that will throw the detective off the right trail. Clue #7: Determine the CONCLUSION and how the mystery will finally be solved. How will your story end?