Completing My Research Before I Write Chapter One

I have mentioned time and time again I am working to write up a murder mystery as my next novel. Oh, has it been a challenge! There are so many facts I must gather before I can even think about typing the story on my computer. I think the hardest part was figuring out all the details that make a murder mystery work. Clues to the criminal, why the criminal did it, how they commit the crime, and how the detective connects all the dots. My plan was to create a page to write out the answers to these points and then work from there. Okay, that was a fine plan, but something didn’t seem right. I knew I needed to find some advice towards the details I would need to address in the book.

I searched online for those answers. When I completed an online Google search for advice, the number of pages provided seemed endless. I found several blog posts, newspaper articles, author interviews, and novels with advice. I jumped around between different suggestions but nothing seemed to be right. I was growing frustrated. Luckily, I didn’t give up right away and found the answer. C. S. Lakin’s blog, Live Write Thrive held all the answers I was looking for. Her entry, 10 Tips on How to Write Believable Crime and Murder Scenes provided a how-to list and even recommended a great novel for further help. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron is the novel her blog recommended. I read the summary about the novel and the reviews rave about the help provided. I was sold and bought the book for my Kindle right away!

There are a lot of exceptions to writing about a character’s death. Author A chose to write about a famous singer’s death while Author B chose to write a murder about a casual school teacher. Maybe one person was shot in the head. Their character could also be poisoned with a fatal drug. Or their death was due to an odd fall off a tall building. I know how I want to bring about my character’s death, but the details to bring it to life are still being created. I have a notebook building with notes to answer those very questions before I write!

Do you study a lot before you attempt to write or do you enjoy going in with an unknown plan?

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