SHANNON MUIR’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS on THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF are observations from the site administrator on her writing life, or the industry at large. Anything Shannon Muir thinks about goes – check the blog on Thursdays!


I’ve often said that for me, finding the story begins with discovering what character I want to write about. While this is definitely true, when it comes to wanting to tell a tale where mystery (or even suspense), is crucial, I need to make sure that the central question or reveal of the story also works out to be well-developed. Otherwise, I can run into some real problems.

I’ve done some stories where I decided to try and let the mystery reveal itself as it went along, and work with just a bare bones outline. However, the more I wrote, the more I wrote myself into a corner. The type of character I wanted to explore, and the type of mystery I thought would be appropriate for that character, turned out to be at odds instead of complementing.

Part of the writing is exploration though. If I didn’t try things, I wouldn’t be able to see if they worked or not. The issue is not usually a matter of whether the mystery doesn’t work or the character development is bad, but that often they are not meant to go with one another. The mystery to solve is that which plot and which story are meant to go together.

Until next time…

Leave A Comment

Recommended Posts


Shannon Muir is pleased that Eastern Washington University, home of KEWU-FM – the jazz station she worked at during her college undergrad years that influenced her writing CHARLES BOECKMAN PRESENTS DOC AND SALLY IN ‘THE DEATH OF BUDDY TURNER’ – will not […]