Can a mystery novel have more than one mystery in it? And does it have to be a “who dunnit” concept?

Asked by: Roxanne Anaya

What are the rules of a mystery?

The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

How many suspects should a mystery novel have?

For an average length mystery (65,000 to 80,000 words) choose between five and eight suspects.

What makes a mystery novel a mystery novel?

The mystery genre is a genre of fiction that follows a crime (like a murder or a disappearance) from the moment it is committed to the moment it is solved. Mystery novels are often called “whodunnits” because they turn the reader into a detective trying to figure out the who, what, when, and how of a particular crime.

What are 2 elements of a mystery story?

Elements of a Good Mystery Story

  • Plot. The plot is the most important part of a mystery. …
  • Crime and Culprit. At the root of a mystery is a crime and a culprit. …
  • Detective. The detective generally must appear early on in a mystery story. …
  • Setting. …
  • Solution to the Problem.

How do you write a good mystery novel?

Here are a few tips for creating an unforgettable mystery story:

  1. Read other mysteries often. …
  2. Know every detail of the crime. …
  3. Open with intrigue. …
  4. Construct convincing characters. …
  5. Make a list of suspects. …
  6. Lean into your locations. …
  7. Let the reader play along. …
  8. Misdirect your reader.

Does a mystery need a murder?

Fundamentally, a murder mystery must have a murder. It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s important to remember that crime novels, detective novels, and noir are often used interchangeably with murder mysteries.

What is the best mystery book ever written?

The 30 Best Mystery Books of All Time

  1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. …
  2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. …
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. …
  4. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. …
  5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. …
  6. Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. …
  7. Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver.
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How many suspects are in a cozy mystery?


Cozy mystery series can be rife with characters: you have 5(ish) suspects in each book, a sleuth, a sidekick, plus recurring series characters (sleuth’s family, co-workers, etc.) . Cozies are all about the quirky characters, and quirky characters have a way of multiplying.

What makes a story a mystery?

Mystery stories revolve around a main character on a quest to solve a crime. Also known as a whodunit or detective story, a mystery creates intrigue by revealing the identity of the antagonist only at the climax of the story. Mystery writers drop clues throughout the plot to invite readers to join in the investigation.

How many chapters should a mystery novel have?

Most novels have between 10 to 12 chapters, but that’s not set in stone. You can have two chapters or 200 — it all depends on how comfortable you are with experimenting.

What are tropes in a mystery?

The event, usually a crime, is examined through a mixture of inquiry, deductive reasoning, forensics, and sometimes sheer luck. With its intriguing plots, the mystery genre has established certain tropes that amp up suspense. These tropes are familiar and often parodied, frequently making their way into other genres.

What are the 5 essential elements of a mystery story?

These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the problem, and the solution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the clues to the solution of the mystery to be revealed in a logical way that the reader can follow.

How do you add a mystery to a story?

3 Ways to Create a Good Mystery in Your Novel

  1. Withhold Information the Protagonist Needs to Know. For the most part, the reader and the protagonist should be in the same boat. …
  2. Use Natural Plot Progressions to Create Reveals. Let your mysteries flow naturally from the plot. …
  3. Uncover Secrets in the Characters’ Pasts.
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What makes a mystery genre?

Mystery is a fiction genre where the nature of an event, usually a murder or other crime, remains mysterious until the end of the story. Often within a closed circle of suspects, each suspect is usually provided with a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime.

What makes a mystery cozy?

No on-the-page violence, murder, sex, or swearing are the tenets of the cozy mystery genre. While protagonists can and often do encounter some kind of peril in the course of their sleuthing, that peril is never exceptionally violent or dark.

What is the average length of a mystery novel?

Mystery: 80,000 words (Subgenres like cozies tend to be shorter, often coming in at 70,000–80,000 words.) Historical fiction: 100,000–150,000 words (This may depend on the topic and demands of the marketplace.)

What is the average length of a cozy mystery?

50K-60K words

50K-60K words is typical, but if it’s shorter, don’t add extra words for the sake of it.

How many pages is 50000 words?

Book Length by the Numbers

A 50,000-word manuscript is 200 pages.

What publishers look for in new authors?

Still, there are some basic elements every publisher considers when evaluating a potential project. Those elements are: content, market, competitive titles, and author platform.

How do I know if my book is worth publishing?

Seven Signs Your Book Idea is Worth Publishing:

  1. Uncontrollable Thoughts. Your book—whatever stage it is in—is always on your mind. …
  2. Constant ideas to note down. You’re ready for ideas to strike at any point in the day. …
  3. Unavoidable Rambling. …
  4. Endless rewriting. …
  5. Hesitant Sharing. …
  6. Unbiased Feedback. …
  7. Unwavering Passion.
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How do you know when your manuscript is ready?

How Do You Know When Your Manuscript is Ready?

  1. Arc.
  2. Character growth.
  3. Problem that the main character resolves himself.
  4. Great descriptive words.
  5. Active verbs.
  6. Definite beginning, middle, and end.
  7. A great twist or surprise ending, or at least a satisfying one.
  8. Emotional depth.

How many publishers should I send my manuscript to?

I agree, best to focus on one publisher with your submission. Of course, rejection or their reluctance opens the door for other publishers (including journals). “Most research journals tell you up front that, by submitting a paper, you are representing that it has not been submitted elsewhere. Not so for books.

What to do before sending a manuscript to a publisher?

How to Submit a Manuscript to a Publisher In 5 Simple Steps

  1. Do your research on agents and publishers. …
  2. Develop a plan to track manuscript submissions. …
  3. Create a shortlist to submit your book to. …
  4. Write personalized queries based on website guidelines. …
  5. Submit your manuscript.

What do agents look for in a manuscript?

Essentially, the publishing industry is fairly conservative. Agents and editors want books they know will sell and they’ll always have an eye on how similar books to yours have performed in the market – hence the perennial popularity of crime fiction and psychological thrillers, which always sell well.

Can you have two literary agents?

The quick answer is, “Yes.” In fact, many literary agents expect writers to query multiple agents at once. Unless they specifically state they prefer writers avoid simultaneous submissions. Or if an agent requests (and you grant) an exclusive look at your submission at a writing conference.

What agents wish writers knew?

5 Things Literary Agents Wish You Knew

  • Think of Yourself As a Pizza Pie.
  • Have a Unique Take.
  • Write an Article First.
  • Think Non-Fiction for Children.