How To Balance Character and Plot in a Mystery Novel – by Zara Altair…

Your Detective and The Puzzle

Most writers think of mystery novels a plot-driven stories which focus on a set of choices a character must make. The sleuth, professional or amateur, must make choices among an array of clues and suspects to arrive at the puzzle solution, the villain.

But, ask a devoted mystery reader to name their favorite mystery and you’ll most likely hear the Millhone, Vera Stanhope, Maigret, Falco… They may or may not remember the first or last name name of a fictional detective: Morse, Poirot, Cadfael, Harry Hole, Bosch, Nero Wolfe, Kinsey of the character or the author’s name, but they remember the character.

Of course, the puzzle was there for each of those sleuth’s to solve, but what what made the story memorable was the character.

So, driving your mystery puzzle you want a memorable sleuth. Underneath the puzzle, is the way your protagonist sleuth deals with inner conflicts and relationships with other characters in your story.

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