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Mystery Writing




6 Months

About the Course

If you are interested in learning how to craft engaging and intriguing stories that keep your readers guessing, then this course on mystery writing is for you. In this course, you will learn the essential elements of mystery writing, such as creating a compelling detective, constructing a clever plot, planting clues and red herrings, and building suspense and tension.

The course consists of modules, each with a specific learning objective and a practical assignment and a quick Quizz. For each module, materials have been provided to help you through the course and allow for quick references or easy use to complete assignments. There is no pass or fail; the information provided here is meant to help you hone your craft. The modules are:

Module 1: Multiple Lessons

The Basics of Mystery Writing. This module introduces you to the basics of mystery writing and helps you develop your own idea for a mystery story. You will also explore different subgenres of mystery writing. You will be expected to select a type listed below to develop throughout this course.

-Cozy Mysteries

-Hard-Boiled Mysteries

-Historical Mysteries

-Paranormal Mysteries

-Procedural Crime Mysteries

-Detective Mysteries

-Thriller Mysteries

You will learn:

  • how to explore why mysteries are so popular

  • how to discover which of the mysteries are more rare than others, and why

  • how to use the "question factor" to start: Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How

Practical Assignment



Module 2: Multiple Lessons

Creating characters.This module teaches you how to create memorable characters for your mystery story. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • how to develop realistic & interesting characters

  • motivation

  • background

  • personality

  • flaw

    • overcoming & learning

  • goal

  • arc

    • change and growth

  • relationship with antagonist

  • relationship with other characters

  • voice

    • tone

    • style

    • attitude

    • think

    • speak

    • narrate

  • role

    • fitting into the genre

    • theme

    • message


Practical Assignment



Module 3: Multiple Lessons

Writing Dialogue for Mystery. In this module you will learn about language as it applies to different eras. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • slangs and accents used in different times

  • cussing and swearing used in different times

  • how to stage, using dialogue, a mystery written in the past

  • how to stage, using dialogue, a mystery written in the future

  • how to write dialogue that reveals character

  • how to write dialogue that advances the plot

  • how to create dialogue that brings about conflict or suspense

Discussion Forum: The mystery series of the past, ie. Micky Slade, The Night Stalker

Practical Assignment



Module 4: Multiple Lessons

POV. Writing from different POVs; which one will you choose and why? In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • the types of POV available

  • how to choose the best point of view for your mystery story

  • how to switch between different perspectives

Practical Assignments



Module 5: Multiple Lessons

Creating a Sense of Mystery and Suspence. This module will introduce you to how to use setting and atmosphere to create a sense of mystery and suspense. Setting and atmosphere are crucial elements of mystery writing, as they help to create suspense, intrigue, and mood. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • choosing the right setting based on genre and plot

  • use of sensory details to describe your setting

  • use of show not tell to describe setting

  • contrasting your setting

  • using forshadowing correctly

  • using setting to reveal character and backstory

  • creating mood

  • creating atmosphere

  • using elements to create mood and atmosphere

  • using setting to influence plot and action

  • building suspense and mystery

  • supporting theme and message

  • using research and imagination to create believable settings

Practical Assignment



Module 6: Multiple Lessons

Plot Structure, Clues and Red Herrings. This module shows you how to structure your mystery story and weave in clues and red herrings. If you want to write a captivating mystery story, you need to pay attention to how you structure your plot, characters, and clues. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • how to create a compelling plot

  • the hook

  • the main conflict

  • introducing characters

  • how to write effective clues and red herrings

  • suspense and tension

  • building climax

  • resolutions

  • endings

  • genre conventions

  • how to use the 3-act model to structure you mystery plot

  • how to plan your clues and twists

Practical Assignment



Module 7: Multiple Lessons

The Middle. Writing the middle of a mystery can be the hardest part. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • how to develop your mystery plot in the middle section of your story

  • how to balance action

  • how to balance investigation

  • how to balance exposition

Practical Assignment



Module 8: Multiple Lessons

Writing the Climax and Resolution. The big bang and resolution of all outstanding twists and sub-plots happens next. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • how to write a satisfying climax

  • how the climax reveals the solution to your mystery problem

  • how to wrap up your story with a resolution

  • to tie up all loose ends

  • how to leave a cliffhanger for the next book if writing a series

Practical Assignment



Module 9: Multiple Lessons

Being Original. Originality in mystery writing is becoming harder since the general market is heavily saturated with ideas. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • why is it hard to be original

  • the mystery market today

  • what sub-genres are saturated

  • how to be original in a saturated market

  • how to use cross-genre to aid in originality

Practical Assignment



Module 10: Multiple Lessons

Revising and Editing. This module guides you through the process of revising and editing your mystery story and preparing it for publication. Revising and editing your mystery story is a crucial step to make it more engaging, suspenseful and satisfying for your readers. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • clear, consistent, logical clues

  • pacing and structure

  • characters and their motivations

  • setting and atmosphere enhancements

  • polishing language and style

  • getting feedback

  • revise, revise, revise

  • careful editing

  • reading aloud

  • enjoying the process

Practical Assignment



Module 11: Multiple Lessons

Mystery Style Guide. A style guide is a document that helps you maintain consistency and clarity in your mystery story standalone. It can cover aspects such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, tone, voice, and genre conventions. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • creating a style guide of your book idea

  • what's needed to craft engaging mystery standalones

  • identifying your target audience and their expectations

  • choosing a POV and sticking to it

  • creating arcs

  • creating profiles

  • establishing that tone and voice and maintaining it throughout your story

  • what level of realism and detail will you keep

  • any rules and conventions relate to your genre

  • timeline and plot summaries

Practical Assignment



Module 12: Multiple Lessons

Writing a mystery series can be a rewarding and challenging endeavor for any author. However, there are some key aspects that one should consider before embarking on such a project. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • about planning a series

  • why the protagonist must last the series

  • how not to be too obvious

  • how to avoid becoming stale

  • why researching topics is important

  • about the supporting cast

  • the trick to maintaining suspense and tension

  • about delivering that satisfying payoff

  • why it's important to leave room for more

  • about spin-offs

  • the struggles with killing off your character

Discussion Forum: Killing Off Your Character

Practical Assignment



Module 13: Multiple Lessons

Mystery Story Bible. Creating a story bible is usually done for a series to keep track of elements that allow for consistency throughout the series. In our lessons,

You will learn:

  • how to create as series bible

  • why it's important to have a series bible for a series

  • what is the main theme compared to various sub-themes

  • what the overall main idea is

  • your character development

  • the protagonist series arc showing growth

  • setting changes throughout series, especially new locations in which books

  • series plot outline, each book outline

  • planting clues throughout series, each book

  • red herrings

  • the big reveal and cliffhangers

  • the big resolution

  • consistency list

  • updating your story bible

  • keeping it close by

Tools and resources

Discussion Forum: guides and story bibles

Discussion Forum: How Sherlock Holmes Series Bible Would Look

Practical Assignment



Bonus Module 14: Multiple Lessons

One of the lessons in this course is dedicated to explaining why mystery writing should not be confused with suspense writing. Although both genres involve creating suspense and tension, they have different goals and techniques. In this lesson,

You will:

  • learn how to distinguish between mystery writing and suspense writing

  • how to use both genres effectively in your own stories

Practical Assignment



By the end of this course, you will have a complete draft of your own mystery story that you can share with others or publish online. You will also have gained valuable skills and knowledge that will help you write more mysteries in the future.

Course Summary Video

Breakdown of Fees: $904.00

$ 200.00 - base programming

$ 200.00 - For module set-up

$ 400.00 - For lessons: including:

  • videos

  • our copywritten forms

  • other materials

  • research

  • resources

  • forum access

  • Practical Assignment & Instructor Assessment

  • quizz

  • summary

  • instructor access

  • 6 month access to program


  • taxes

  • service fee

Notice: All information, forms and content provided for this course is strictly the property of Dark Dove Publishing, The WRITE Affiliates, and J.L. Slipak and should not be copied, reused, rebranded or altered in any fashion for unauthorized purposes, and without explicit permission to do so by the aforementioned parties, hereto.

Any infringement of copyright, trademark, or registration will result in legal actions being taken against violators. Permission of use is governed solely for this program/course as provided strictly adhering to copyright laws of Canada and the United States and for no improper purposes in accordance to the law.

For terms and conditions governing refunds, go to terms and conditions in the main menu under Dark Dove Publishing. All personal data is subject to our privacy policy listed below. Although Dark Dove Publishing strives to provide correct and appropriate materials, any errors or ommisions should be immediately brought to the attention of Dark Dove Publishing in written form by sending an email to:

Private information is forbidden on public forums. Any links or emails provided there will be deleted. All posts are governed with the strictest policies. Please remain professional with conduct when using services, products, access and other items belonging to Dark Dove Publishing, The WRITE Affiliates, and J.L. Slipak, as per the terms of conduct and program/course polices provided with each course description.

All courses are for informational purposes to fine tune and hone the craft of writing. None are for official certification toward a degree, diploma, or professional certification in any form. Go here to read further terms and conditions

Your Instructor

J.L. Slipak

J.L. Slipak

Certified Freelance Writer, Editor, Published Author, CEO of Dark Dove Publishing, Over 40 Years Experience, in the Written World, Member of IAPWE(International Association Professional Writers & Editors

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