Unfortunately. Since it’s supposed to be a Murder Mystery.
I mean it’s right there in the title. “Murder in the Rigel Brigade.” Plain as day.
So . . . Nobody getting killed until Chapter Ten is probably not a good idea. And then all sorts of getting ready for a cross-dimensional invasion, with a few minor scenes involving the murder investigation. And then the cross-dimensional invasion that they manage to squash with only a few blocks of the city in ruins . . .
And finally arrest the most obvious person . . .
Now, I’ve sort of written accidental mysteries before. “Dancer” for instance. But there really wasn’t a whole lot of detecting going on. My main character just sort of bounced around annoying everyone (especially the cops) until the Bad Guy tried to murder her.
But pantsing has not worked for this particular mystery.
I am going to have to Plot.
Worse! I’m going to have to learn how to Write a Mystery. Merely having read millions of them isn’t sufficient to get me through this one.
I’ve been looking into the matter, and reading lots of mysteries is one of the top recommendations. But also . . .
- Open with Intrigue.
- Multiple layers of secrecy—which can be anything from secret identities, unknown motivations, secrets not related to the crime, but making people look suspicious as they are clearly not being open and honest with the investigator.
- Elements of suspense—foreshadowing and using the setting to create a mood.
- Multiple suspects—List are useful, yes, in the narrative. Just lay it right out there in plain sight, and let the investigator think out how to eliminate some, and how to find evidence.
- Clues—got to have them. Give the reader a chance to try and figure it out themselves. But don’t give too much away. Red herrings—misleading both the investigator and the readers is apparently not just allowed, but highly recommended.
- Give the detective a strong motivation to solve the crime.
- Oh, yes. There has to be something to investigate. Usually a crime, frequently a murder. Could just be a puzzle, but that’s tough to make important to solve.
- Some of these weird experts even think the writer ought to know every detail of the crime! Ahead of writing the detective discovering everything! Unbelievable, really.
All this, of course, with the usual writing advice of strong characters, character development, satisfying conclusions, etc.
I . . . am going to have to rewrite a lot of this manuscript. Or at least very heavily edit it while adding a whole lot to it. And make it into an actual mystery.
And my first, deliberate attempt to write a mystery—in my SF/F multiverse, of course: