I’m trying to write a not too long murder mystery. I’ve never written one. Well, not one good enough lol. I want this piece to be good. I’ve researched a bit but I still can’t figure out a way to make sure my story really blows the reader’s mind. Got any tips?

Feel free to post some nice murder mystery prompts!

  1. Look into true crime stories, I especially recommend looking into the cases that inspired the film Wolf Creek. I can’t think if any cases more mind-blowing and terrifying.

  2. How to Write a Murder Mystery: 7 Tips to Captivate - Now Novel

  3. Tips On How To Write A Murder Mystery That'll Blow Everyone Away 2022

  4. How to Write a Mystery Story (That Will Grip Readers)


Thank you so much. I’ll look into these!

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Murder mysteries are quite difficult. I’ve only ever written one and… it didn’t go as well as I’d like. I loved it at the time, but it’s been roughly four years since then and when reading and thinking about it, I can definitely see changes that could’ve been made. It still has some potential if I were to put more revision into it, but… nah.

There’s a few key factors to a murder mystery, however.

  1. Know your killer.

Knowing who your killer is ahead of time, and their motives, will definitely help ground your story as you outline it. And yes, you do want to outline. It doesn’t have to be thorough, but just enough for you to know what you’re doing. Writing a murder mystery without one will be quite difficult.

  1. Sprinkle information in.

During your outline and as you write, you do want to create a list of evidence that points to your killer, but do it in a subtle way. Like, you don’t have to say “The killer wore no shoes when they killed them because there’s a clear footprint in the blood” and then your killer was seen that night without shoes on. That’s too on the nose. Something like, “The killer wore no shoes when they killed them because there’s a footprint in the blood” and then your killer was wearing shoes but took them off when they killed them might be better because then it can scratch your head as a reader and point the direction to someone else. And that leads me into my next one.

  1. Have other characters who could’ve done it.

This one, however, depends on the route you’re going for. If you’re wanting a true whodunnit trope, you want multiple characters who had the motive and time to do it. Now, of course, you don’t have to make other characters do this because some murder mysteries don’t need a string of suspects but just a few. Most murder mysteries will have the main killer and a few (maybe up to three) suspects that the evidence points towards. What this does is deviate from the original killer so it makes it confusing and worth reading on to find out more and who actually killed them. But, do make sure all the evidence and motives do match up with your killer. This is also why it’s important to know who they are and to sprinkle the information in—it’s there, but it’s subtle enough that on a first read through, your reader won’t see it coming.

  1. Each character should have a rich backstory.

This will definitely help you in the long run because when you flesh them out, it allows room for people to empathize with them, even if the character is your killer. And yes, you do want to flesh them out as well. This can also make for a great suspect list because if the character has problems with your victim, it just adds more red herrings.

  1. Be sure to research.

And finally, and the most obvious one, is to research what you’re going for. Read murder mysteries, watch crime documentaries, watch movies and shows. This is the best way to learn the genre because when reading and watching these, it helps you understand where to put those red herrings and possible motives, etc.

When I was writing my story, I was heavily inspired by a video game called Until Dawn. This was a classic cabin in the woods murder mystery with a massive twist… on the supernatural side. There’s a lot of good examples in it that makes for a great plot, with motive and red herrings. I mean, if you cut out the supernatural parts, it’s a solid murder mystery.