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Taking the Mystery Out of Writing a Mystery

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1 Taking the Mystery Out of Writing a Mystery
Steps to Writing a Mystery Story

2 Step One – Story Skeleton
Fill out the story skeleton sheet Setting Character List Conflict Rising Action Climax Resolution

3 Step Two – Character Webs
For each character, make a web or cluster. Develop your character’s personality and appearance. What is the motivation for how your characters act and talk? Hair, eyes, weight, general appearance Hobbies, collections Family Special talents Friends Favorite places Name Do a cluster together with students in class so that they have practice and know what is expected.

4 Step Three – Rough Draft
Write on every other line on one side of the paper. The extra space will be used for revising and editing later. Be sure to include dialogue to help the story come to life. Let your reader know early in the story what the setting is. Use the skeleton and character webs to help you organize your thoughts. Think of an attention grabbing title.

5 Step Four – Revising Do you need to add information? Try adding in thoughshots and snapshots. Do you need to subtract information? Do you need to move sentences or paragraphs? Did you include dialogue? Are you happy with the beginning? Have you used interesting vocabulary? (Avoid unnecessary repetition.) Do you need to replace any words? Do you need to combine any short, choppy sentence?

6 Step Five – Editing Look for corrections to be made: spelling
capitalization punctuation run-on sentences fragments verb usage pronoun usage Paragraph indenting Students will work in peer editing groups.

7 Step Six – Final Copy Handwritten Typed Write in cursive
Use black ink Use looseleaf paper (no spiral) Write on one side only Use neat margins on both sides Make corrections neatly Typed Use 12 point font Double space Use 1/2” tab to indent Use 1” margins Be sure your name and period are in the upper right hand corner.

8 Mystery Story Skeleton
How to Plan Your Mystery Story

9 Choose the Setting for Your Story
Where will the story take place? Will it be in the city where you live or somewhere else? Writing about someplace you can picture is easier. Use the five senses to help describe the setting. When will the story take place? Will your story take place in the present, past, or future? Will your story take place all in one day or over a longer time?

10 Cast of Characters Make a list of the people in your story.
The main character is most important. Minor characters may help the main character, or they may prevent the main character from solving the mystery.

11 Conflict WHODUNNIT? What is the mystery? What is the problem that your main character will have to solve? Is someone or something missing? Did someone steal something? Was there a murder?

12 Rising Action Rising action is the steps between learning there is a mystery and finding the solution. List these events in order, but stop right before the mystery is solved. Develop suspense with clues. Red herrings are clues that lead the reader to suspect the wrong person. One clue must be the key to solving the crime.

13 Climax This is the moment when the mystery is solved.
The climax is the solution to the mystery. This is the moment you have been waiting for!

14 Resolution This is the end of the story – the last paragraph or two.
The resolution ties up the loose ends. Tell the reader any details the reader needs to know to understand how the mystery was solved. It should be obvious that this is the end of the story. (Do not say “The End.”)

15 Write Your First Sentence
Grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read the rest of the story. Begin with action, and with something interesting happening at the beginning. Starting with a conversation or someone talking is another way to make your story come to life right away.

16 Turn in Your Skeleton Turn in the story skeleton sheet
Your next step will be to complete the character webs.

17 Self Evaluation And Teacher Evaluation
The Mystery Is Solved Self Evaluation And Teacher Evaluation

18 Self-Evaluation On a separate sheet of paper, write about your experience writing a mystery story. Include the questions on the following slide in your evaluation. Staple the evaluation to the rough draft, webs, and skeleton. Turn your final copy in separately. Be sure your project is turned in on time.

19 Questions to Ask Yourself
How much time did you spend? What did you enjoy or not enjoy about his assignment? What do you think you learned from completing this project? What is your project’s strong point? What are you most proud of? What do you think you could have improved on? What grade (out of 100) do you think you earned?

20 Teacher Evaluation Following directions on each step Original work
Interesting title Sensible story order Carefully chosen vocabulary Correct spelling Correct Capitalization Correct punctuation Well constructed sentences Correctly written dialogue Correct use of paragraphs Neat final copy Project turned in on time

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