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The Art of Story Writing : CHAPTER V The Mystery Story

by Nathaniel C. Fowler, JR   

CHAPTER V The Mystery Story

THERE is, at present, a demand, which may not be permanent, for stories of mystery, containing intricate plots, each character confusing the others and the reader, the riddle to be solved in the last chapter.

It is difficult to form the plot of a mystery story so as to sustain the interest of the reader for several hundred pages, and then to clear up the puzzle in a few words or pages.

I would advise the would-be novelist not to attempt the mystery form of story, unless he has reason to believe that he can skillfully construct the plot, and create action, which, in itself, will be interesting. Of course, all stories should carry the reader to the solution, and there should be some mystery in them, but this cannot be handled with the intensity of the successful mystery novel except by a few writers. Not one writer in a thousand, I may say, not one writer in ten thousand, can successfully originate or write out a mystery story. Better not attempt the very difficult, until you have mastered the simpler forms of story writing.