HOW do you PLOT a MYSTERY?
CLUE TRAIL shows you how to
craft and twist a mystery.
Keep track of the tricky bits while you
wow your readers with your tight
writing and captivating plots.
No loose ends.
From Whodunnit to Solution
“As far as I’m concerned, you can’t beat a good whodunnit: the twists and turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn’t seen it from the start.” ? Anthony Horowitz (1955 – ) Magpie Murders 2016
How do you know what clues to plant & how to hide them? READ ON
If you have ever wondered about mystery clues: what kind are needed and how to make or hide them, this book will tell you.
Clues of all kinds are listed with examples to help you understand what makes a clue and how to twist it and hide it until all is revealed at the end – AH HA! It was actually obvious all along : )
What can you learn from this book? SEE BELOW
Part One instructs you on the use of The Mystery Bones Method, which helps you keep track of the plot so that no vital bits of information are forgotten.
Part Two describes, in great detail, the many different kinds of clues that can be used to trick and misdirect your reader or audience.
Part Three is full of Bonus Material on easy mysteries for children, different kinds of mystery scripts and tricks of the quintessential Locked Room Mystery.
TABLE of CONTENTS
Part One: MYSTERY BONES
How to Create a Fairplay Mystery Plot or Party
Anatomy of a Mystery: Plot Elements
THE DIRT: What Happens?
Decide on a Crime
THE BONES: Motive, Method & Opportunity
Motive: Why Did It Happen?
Method: How Did It Happen?
Opportunity: When Did It Happen?
THE MUSCLES: Cast of Characters
Characters: Victim, Suspects, Villain, Detective
THE TENDONS: Connecting Muscles to Bones
Circle of Suspects Chart
Connections & Secrets Chart
Basic Plot Wheel
THE HEART: What Actually Happened
Extra: Information about Plotting
THE MIND: What Appeared to Happen
THE SOUL: The Clue Trail
Part Two: CLUE TRAIL
From Whodunnit to Solution
CLUE TRAILS: What Kind to Use
Positive Clue Trail: Progressive Identification
Negative Clue Trail: Progressive Elimination
CLUES: Direct / Physical / Tangible Evidence
CLUES: Indirect / Intellectual / Intangible Evidence
The Keystone Clue & The AH-HA Clue
TWISTING the CLUE TRAIL
Red Herrings: False Clues
Detecting: Looking at Clues from the Other Side
Motive Clues: Why Did It Happen?
Method Clues: How Did It Happen?
Opportunity Clues: When Did It Happen?
BUILDING the STRUCTURE
The Complete List
Clue Chart: Positive Clue Trail with Scenes
Bonus Material: OTHER MYSTERY FORMATS
Live Parties & Locked Rooms
EASY MYSTERIES for Children
Clue Chart: Negative Clue Trail – Two Part Clues
MYSTERY Scripts, Parties & Events
Types of Scripts
Cast Your Mystery
LOCKED ROOM Mysteries
Writers: CLUE TRAIL
Read it and find out how to stump your audience/reader and gain
their respect and admiration.
Mystery Fans: CLUE TRAIL
Read it, be better equipped to match wits with the expert, the author. Can you get to the ending before you are suppose to?
CLUETRAIL $49.95 Click on the green ‘Checkout’ button above.
Each purchase comes with one free plot consultation.
HOW TO WRITE MYSTERIES
The Book CLUE TRAIL
MOTIVE, METHOD, OPPORTUNITY
THE CRIME SCENE
CLUES & EVIDENCE
This book has been a labour of love for me. I hope you have found lots of useful information and tips. I hope it gave you as much pleasure to read it as it gave me to write it.
Dear Mystery Fans,
That’s how it’s done. Good luck paying attention to the tingle in yourself that tells you what you just read or heard is worth paying attention to. Matching wits against the detective is one of the most engaging challenges there is.
If you find you are constantly figuring out ‘whodunnit’ before you get to the end of the story, maybe it’s time to write your own.
At Your Service
I’ve read MANY writing books and found some excellent resources, but Clue Trails tops the list when it comes to actually creating a satisfying mystery plot. It is now my #1 resource when planning out a new mystery novel. The tips and templates in this book make everything seem so simple — Juanita takes us through the process gently, and by the end we have a complex, logical, surprising mystery plot!
Thank you! I’m so happy to hear that Cluetrail is useful. “It’s easy when you do it one step at a time.” JRV
I actually write books with a dark sense of humor
I‘ve bought your Clue-Trail-Mystery-Epub last year.
I’m also a mystery and romance writer from Germany and I‘ve benefit from your experience.
Thanks a lot, really!
Thank you so much for telling me Anja. It’s always satisfying to know someone has found my stuff useful. I love books with a dark sense of humour! I trust you are having fun and making money with you writing. And if you aren’t year I bet you will be soon.
This is the best book on writing a mystery that I have read, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to create a fairplay mystery! I have read thousands of mysteries and numerous craft books on story and mystery writing. But still, as I have been working to complete my first mystery novel, I have struggled with the apparent complexity of managing all the suspects and clues.
Clue Trail demystifies mystery plotting by outlining a step-by-step process that is more clear and illuminating than anything I have read before. The book unravels the mystery of writing mysteries to reveal that it is in fact a very simple process — as long as you take it step by step. Clue Trail provides everything you need to understand the elements of a fairplay mystery, including how to manage suspects, types of clues and how to hide them, and, crucially, how to twist the clue trail so that readers are kept guessing until the very end.
A hallmark of Agatha Christie’s ingenious mysteries is her ability to make the outcome feel both surprising and inevitable. Clue Trail explains how to achieve this, and it is clearly the work of someone who has analyzed scores of successful mysteries. The author’s insight — which no doubt was acquired over years of reading and study — is available to all in this excellent book. Do yourself a favor and buy it!
Hi Cathy – Thanks! I am so glad that you found it useful. I really liked your email too, so I am putting a snip of it here. I’m sure you will enjoy Alamanac of the Infamous too!
I posted a review of your wonderful book, and I am so grateful to have it. I am digging in to my novel today with renewed excitement and enthusiasm, thanks to the clarity your book has brought me. I particularly appreciated the reminders you included throughout Clue Trail that plotting a mystery is simple if you do it one step at a time. I have definitely let my mind scare me, and too often, this resulted in me avoiding writing altogether. I feel now that I have everything I need to bravely forge ahead, with your book as my comfort and guide.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
p.s. I discovered your book, Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible and the Ignored, and I am fascinated. I have added it to my wishlist and look forward to purchasing it when I am able!
With “Clue Trail” Juanita has written a clear and comprehensive guide to crafting a mystery that guides you comprehensively through every step with care and gives you a clear path through the jungle of clues, suspects and solutions.
Thanks! Glad to be able to cut a trail through the jungle for you and others. On words!
I would like to use this comment as an endorsement for the book “Clue Trails.”
If you’re a writer who has tried to write a fair play mystery, then you know how difficult it is to account for all the details a reader expects in a WhoDunIt. I tried to write a story by the seat of my pants, but failed to keep my characters motive, means, and opportunities in check. It stalled. I guess I’m more of a planner, and I did successfully outline a mystery, but then came the clues. Again, I stalled because I lacked the knowledge of how and when to insert clues. So, my good ideas are abandoned in Scrivener or Word, just waiting for a guiding light.
Ms Violini’s book (Clue Trails) has shined a light on why I stalled. The book provides clear direction on building the “bones” of a thorough mystery, accounting for the MMMs and usable guidance on clues. Her easy-to-understand examples and fill-in the-blank diagrams have led me back to my library of stalled stories and given me a trail to follow – a Clue Trail.
I don’t think the book will solve all of my problems, though. I still have to imagine the details to put in the blanks. But with her diagrams at my side and a pocket full of sound advice, I’m one step closer.
I did work with Ms Violini via email for purchase options. I suggest you do to.
Is it possible to see a bit more about your clue trails (i.e. the positive clue trails or creating clues)? Do you have a sample of this material? I am curious and looking for information that can help me write my cozy mystery novel.
Hi Allyssa! YAY MYSTERY WRITERS!!!! You can get started with clue information on this page: https://mysteryfactory.com/mystery-scripts-clues/ How to write a fairplay mystery, complete with clues is covered in the book CLUETRAIL. Lots of diagrams and charts so you don’t lose track of information or wind up with loose ends at the end of the story. Basically your killer is the only one who will have the motive, the method and the opportunity to commit the crime. Then you create clues that support those things and hide them in the story. the e-book is $50 or you can buy a hardcopy for $30 plus shipping. I also do plot consulting. If you are strapped for cash, send me an email and we will see what we can work out.
Thank you for all of your tips for writing mysteries! I am so excited to read your book and learn so much more!