The setting of your detective story is very important to your narrative. Where and when did the murder take place? Setting your story background has all kinds of implications on the progress of the story. For instance: if your story is set in fourteenth century Italy, you probably don’t have any equipment to examine DNA or fingerprints. Unless your detective can travel through time, which, of course is only possible if you are Doctor Who.
When you start to write a detective story, you need to take seven steps to start your investigation. The steps you take, depend on what kind of investigator your main character is. In general, you will find these seven steps in almost every detective story you read.
Did you know that when you write a detective or a mystery story, you actually have to write not one, but two stories? Yes, two! Let me break this down for you. The first story, is the one you present to your reader, but the second story goes much deeper than that.
“This is how my daughter should be,” the queen thought, “hair as black as ebony, lips as red as my blood and skin as white as snow.” A year later, the queen had her way. A daughter was born. And they called her Snow White. Everyone knows this fairytale, but there are some clichés. Luckily, you can fix this by using your senses.
You can use your senses for original images, but in order to do this, you will have to know something about the five sense first and the impact they may have on your reader.
Most texts we write are based on what we see. We live in a visual world, we cannot ignore that. So if you write, it is important to ensure that your reader can visualize it for himself.
In Dutch there are many words that imitate sounds, we call them onomatopoeia. Think of tapping, rattling, clicking, cracking and hissing. There are many other words that imitate sounds. By using these words, you hear the sound in your head.
Something you feel, can evoke both pleasure and pain. By using the sense of touch in your text, you can literally give readers the feeling of your text. In your text, you can combine two or more senses, so it lets you call up a particular image in the reader.
You can use the sense of taste to have more impact on your reader. I think everyone can recall the taste of lemon just by reading that word. That gives a lot more experience to your text than just a description. To describe foods you need to use all your senses.
Smell is the strongest sense that we have to deal with impact on the reader. If you manage to evoke a smell in the mind of your reader, you can send him or her back to those moments in his or her life.
Use all your senses
It is obviously the best thing if you can use all your senses in your text. And it’s not just about texts in stories, but also in blogs, your ‘About Me’ page and any other text you’ll ever write.
“Dance?” The stranger whispered his question in my ear. His cold breath tickled my ear. I turn and see a man in a black hoodie and jeans. His hood was pulled far over his eyes, so I can not see his face. I wanted to reject, but cannot.
He takes my hand and we go to the dance floor. His touch feels like an ice cube on my skin. The stranger takes me in his arms and I shiver. Why does he feel so cold?
Then he continues to whisper: “Are you sure what you’re doing? You know you don’t know what you’re doing. Why do you think you can teach people how to write stories? “
I feel the hairs on my arms stand on end. Cold sweat runs down my back to my perineum. “Why are you saying this to me?”
Using your senses is one of the things I can teach in my courses. If you are interested, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.
The plot is the most important story line. This is the anchor line of your story, the main question or the core problem. In books like Game of Thrones or soap opera’s like The Bold and the Beautiful you will find multiple story lines, crossing each other or even overlapping. In general, they will go their own way.