The Secret Recipe for a Mystery Novel

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Stacy-Deanne is a published novelist of crime fiction, mystery/​suspense, and romantic suspense with a focus on interracial subplots. She started writing professionally in 1997 when she was nineteen years old. Stacy grew up loving the suspense genre. Her love for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and many of his movies fueled her fire for suspense.

Stacy´s books include Everlasting (Simon and Schuster, 2007), Melody (Simon and Schuster, 2008), Giving up the Ghost (Peace in the Storm Publishing, 2011) and The Season of Sin (Peace in the Storm Publishing, 2012).  Today she offers aspiring mystery writers the Secret Recipe for a Mystery Novel.


People often ask what the difference is between mystery and suspense. Well, mystery is the puzzle, but suspense is the element that drives the reader to keep reading until the end. Suspense is the anxiety, fright, horror, and apprehension the reader feels while reading.  Suspense can come about by the author navigating it or from the story itself if you write the story well enough. No matter what type of mystery you write, you must have the element of suspense.


Tension is that invisible force that connects us to a book or movie. It makes the story or movie exciting. It’s what keeps readers turning the pages. I think of tension as an invisible rope that slowly pulls you into a book. Every type of book needs tension to move it along, and to keep readers involved.

Three dimensional villains

Villains are my favorite characters to write and read about. For me they drive the story but the trick is in the character development. Many writers seem to skip on creating a deep villain, and this is a big mistake.  To have an effective protagonist, your bad guys/girls must be just as complex as your good character. Also, remember that no one is all bad or all good. Give your villain a heart, show a softer side, and that will make him or her even more enthralling.

Twists and Turns

You have to throw in believable twists and turns to keep a mystery moving. The art of writing mysteries is to know how to reveal something along the way without giving up too much. It takes skill and practice but it is an essential part of writing a gripping mystery.

The Perfect Ending

Nothing ruins a mystery more than a bad ending. I don’t care how good your book is, if that ending isn’t satisfying or well thought out then you’ve lost a reader for your next book. A great mystery teases the reader, but also presents a plausible ending. An ending in a mystery must tie everything together in a brilliant way.

To learn more about Stacey Deanne please visit her website. 

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