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Mystery Factory


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Consultations: How to Write or Plot a Mystery Novel, Story, or Script

$50 an hour

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  • For anyone who wants to start writing mysteries or improve their plot skills, I highly recommend Juanita’s workshops, “Clue Trail” handbook, and plot consultation services.

    I’ve hired Juanita to help me plot my last two mystery novels, and I can’t imagine writing any future mystery novels without her input. Her questions, insights and suggestions made my rough plots SO much more interesting!

    I’ve also participated in one of Juanita’s “how to create a mystery plot” workshops and it revolutionized how I create my mystery novels. Her hard copy handbook for how to plot mysteries is my #1 resource when starting a new novel.

  • Hello

    I wanted to keep you informed that we did our 2nd sold out murder mystery last week. Of course my cast was so much more relaxed and mingled with the audience a lot more. One of my actors told me that morning that he was too sick to perform and so we had about 45 min before show to figure out how to cut his story line. It still left us with 4 suspects and afterwards, I liked it much better with the 4 suspects.

    I am writing a new one for April as we are starting to get return audience members. I was thinking a HS or College reunion, of course held at the winery. Maybe a family reunion? What are your thoughts. Do you think that any of those themes will work?

    We would not be having this success if it wasn’t for you. Anything I can do to promote your book or you, please let me know!!


    • Hi Mark. That’s fabulous to hear!

      The themes of a HS or College reunion is a great start and provides an excellent opportunity for simmering rivalries, grudges and resentment. These are all wonderful murder mystery fodder, which can make for some hilarious and revealing dialogue.

      To crank the tension up a notch, I would also add some kind of imperative to the plot. You can do this by adding an urgency to the town or school associated with the reunion. Maybe there was a secret student society that swore they would do something drastic at this year’s school reunion. Maybe the ‘garage band’ that played at all the school functions years ago, and are scheduled to play tonight, are being held hostage by a rival school reunion, in exchange for a football trophy. One of the band members escapes and makes it to the reunion only to drop dead on arrival. Maybe the school reunion is being picketed by some well-meaning by out-of-touch-with-reality group and one of them dies. Maybe there was a tragic car crash or hiking accident or explosion, related to the grads, in the past on their initial graduation day, and one of them is going to do a big reveal at the reunion.
      In short, build bigger disension into the plot. This reunion is extra special because …

      Thanks again for your kind words. Juanita

  • My historic site hired Ms. Juanita as a consultant and could not have been more pleased. We needed help crafting the plot and characters of an interactive mystery program, and she delivered. She listened to our ideas and walked us through the drafting of a mystery. We only wanted a 3-hour of consultation on planning/crafting the plot, as our staff intends to write out the physical scripts for our actors, but I know if we had asked her to step us through that part of the process she would have been amazing as well. She helped us understand physical and verbal cues, ways to tie in dialogue to interconnect our characters, and how to avoid pitfalls of common mystery novices. I’ve seen examples of her other work as well, and her ability to help you design clues if so desired is pretty impressive. Affordable and professional services all around.

    We would certainly use her services again in a heartbeat.

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