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Course Description


This course is perfect for those who have an interest in either Creative Writing or the Mystery Genre. If you love to write and want to move into this popular genre, or you love to read a great mystery and have often thought you could do it, this course is for you.

Taking you through the process of creating your Mystery, this course begins by looking at the mystery genre itself and examining this type of writing attribute. The course then moves on to helping you become inspired and motivated as you get started. The main part of the Mystery Writing course looks at some of the important elements of a good mystery – the characters, the plot, etc. and helps you to become familiar with all the tools the mystery writer uses to create multi-layered, addictive mystery fiction that a reader just cannot put down. Writing exercises will get your creative juices flowing by bringing out the writer in you and sparking ideas. There are questions after each lesson which will allow you to recap what you have learned and test your knowledge.

 The entire course is designed to offer you great information in a way that will get you thinking about your own mystery and personal writing practices. Whatever your age, experience or level of ability, this course constantly challenges and informs you so that your writing can't fail to improve and you will learn how to stay motivated and inspired through the entire writing process. Become the mystery writer you have wanted to be or strengthen your writing abilities with this inspirational course.

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics


Lesson 1 – The Mystery Genre

This lesson looks at what makes a story a mystery, what are the crucial elements of this genre? This first lesson also identifies what genre means and how being familiar with a genre can allow a writer to challenge the conventions of that genre in innovative and original ways.

Lesson 2 – Starting Out

The second lesson deals with the all-important question; ‘Where do I start?’ This lesson aims to look at how you can find and collect ideas that inspire you, moving on to give practical advice on getting that pen to paper for the first time, planning, plotting and brainstorming.

Lesson 3 – Research and Real Life

Research is essential for the mystery writer. It is crucial to be well informed about the time, place and detail of your story. This lesson gives practical tips on where to find your research and furthermore on how to write about real-life mysteries.

Lesson 4 – Storytelling; Plot & Sub-plot

Lesson 4 gives practical advice on how to develop a plot that works. Interweaving subplots can be difficult, so helpful tips and pointers are given to help a writer with any level of experience to blend multiple storylines together. In the mystery genre, plot often needs to be intricate and involving – a difficult task unless organised and structured.

Lesson 5 – Storytelling; Character

Creating meaningful, multi-layered characters is essential to a piece of mystery writing. This lesson shows how characters can be developed and gives instruction on getting to know your characters so that they can be well rounded and three-dimensional. This is crucial for the reader to feel an affinity with those he or she is reading about.

Lesson 6 – Storytelling; Narrative

The perspective a mystery is written from should never be underestimated. The narrator can be a major character in the piece or simply a means of telling the story. This lesson gives advice, not on how a mystery should be narrated, but on what a writer’s options are in terms of telling the story. By knowing your options, you can make the right decision for your own piece of mystery writing.

Lesson 7 – Mysterious elements; the red herring

A red herring is a solution or revelation that solves some part of a mystery, or does it? A red herring misleads the reader, takes them on a wild goose chase. It is a staple of the mystery genre. We look at the dos and don’ts of placing pitfalls for the reader to fall into.

Lesson 8 – Mysterious elements; violence and murder

Violence and murder are staple themes of the mystery novel, but how do you strike the balance between an intriguing crime and gratuitous material. This lesson looks at how a writer can avoid isolating the reader with taking things too far. Getting this right can make your piece of writing accessible to a wider audience and bypasses any sensationalism that could cheapen your work.

Lesson 9 – Mysterious elements; suspense

Suspense is how a writer keeps the reader reading their mystery. To achieve that un-put-downable effect, it is essential that you get the pace of the story just right so that the reader is kept involved and interested. Too slow and they will lose interest, too fast and they will be left behind. Get the speed right and the suspense will follow.

Lesson 10 – Mysterious elements; realism

Without a sense of realism, a mystery story is redundant. This lesson aims to help the writer get across a sense of the real world in their writing by helping them to identify and banish any unrealistic, overly contrived elements in their mystery. A contrived, unrealistic storyline will make the reader disbelieve the story and thus take away the effect the story is designed to achieve.

Lesson 11; Mysterious elements; Revelation

Solving the mystery - when should you do it? How should you do it? This is one of the elements of writing a mystery that writers often grapple with. It is difficult to decide, and every story is different, but this lesson offers some great advice on how to resolve the mystery and satisfy your readers.

Lesson 12; Redrafting a Mystery

Redrafting any work of fiction can be difficult but redrafting a mystery can be particularly testing for a writer. Improving the text without damaging the integrity of the story is a balance that can be tricky to achieve. This lesson gives professional advice on redrafting, editing and maintaining the mystery for writers of mysteries.

Lesson 13; Overcoming Mystery Writer’s Block

Overcoming writer’s block can be a nightmare for any writer of fiction, but this lesson offers practical, useful advice for the writer of mysteries who is lacking in motivation, inspiration or perspiration. Get back on track with these helpful techniques for firing up your imagination and creating some mystery.

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with one or two assignments. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe the mystery genre.
  • Conduct research.
  • Describe storytelling essentials--plot and sub-plot.
  • Define characters.
  • Define the narrative.
  • Define the red herring.
  • Know violence and murder.
  • Create suspense.
  • Demonstrate methods for creating realism.
  • Demonstrate techniques for the final revelation.
  • Show how to redraft a mystery.
  • Know methods for overcoming mystery writer's block, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Assignment15
Lesson 1: The Mystery Genre11
Lesson 2 Assignment15
Lesson 2: Starting Out12
Lesson 3 Assignment15
Lesson 3: Research12
Lesson 4 Assignment15
Lesson 4: Storytelling; Plot & Sub-plot10
Lesson 5 Assignment15
Lesson 5: Storytelling; Character8
Lesson 6 Assignment15
Lesson 6: Storytelling; Narrative9
Lesson 7 Assignment15
Lesson 7: Mysterious Elements; The Red Herring9
Lesson 8 Assignment15
Lesson 8: Mysterious Elements; Violence and Murder7
Lesson 9 Assignment15
Lesson 9: Mysterious Elements; Suspense10
Lesson 10 Assignment15
Lesson 10: Mysterious Elements; Realism10
Lesson 11 Assignment15
Lesson 11: Mysterious Elements; Revelation10
Lesson 12: Redrafting a Mystery10
Lesson 13A Assignment15
Lesson 13B Assignment15
Lesson 13: Overcoming Mystery Writer's Block10
Total Points:324

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