Author Topic: Murder before the Story  (Read 1187 times)


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Murder before the Story
« on: October 24, 2017, 06:28:01 AM »
How do you feel about reading a book where the reader knows exactly who committed the murder in the first chapter and the characters in the story don't? The whole story is spent with the characters trying to work out the connections to their lives and to the murder ten years before. The reader, however,  is willing the characters to solve the mystery. The reader knows how it happened. There are other mysteries too within that mystery as the story unfolds, of which the reader doesn't know, and with all the tangled webs, it all comes together at the end.  Does that make sense to you?


Jo Bannister

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Re: Murder before the Story
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 09:33:00 AM »
Absolutely.  This is a perfectly valid alternative to the traditional who-dun-it - I call it a "why-dun-it", because it allows the space to explore the motives and actions of what is probably the most interesting character in the book, the murderer.

I raised a few eyebrows when I started using this format - or a similar one, where the denouement comes in the middle of the book - but I must have won the argument, because it hasn't gone on being an issue.

So much depends on what you want to your readers to get out of the experience.  Is it a puzzle, in which case the identity of the murderer needs to be concealed?  Or is it an understanding of the process of murder? - in which case it makes more sense to bring him/her in from the cold in order to explain their decision-making process.

As always, the success of the model depends on the quality of the writing.  It's probably true to say that, if you're going to deviate from an accepted norm, you need to make the book a cut above the competition in every other respect.  But if you're asking can it work, then the answer is certainly it can. 


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Re: Murder before the Story
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 05:05:33 PM »
In all aspects Jo, that's what I wanted to hear. Thank you.

Lin  :D

Offline HPvD

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Re: Murder before the Story
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 10:27:19 AM »
When I saw Titanic in the Movie theatre some years ago I
thought, 'What can I expect from this movie?',

I already know that it sunk...., does it give room
for telling a story with such a
big - Spoiler Alert -?

Than when the movie started, with a scene at the 'End of the Story'
with a Shipwreck at the bottom of the sea, that morphed into
a Flashback Scene about what happened before it,

I thought, oh yeah this will work, and does give
room to a story.
To your Happy<i> - Writing -</i> Inspiration,