Episode 33: How to Write Surprises and Mysteries in Any Genre

Show Notes for Episode 33: How to Write Surprises and Mysteries in Any Genre

Alone in a Room with Invisible People is a podcast focusing on topics related to writing, revising and publishing fiction.

Have you ever read a book that kept surprising you with twists and turns you didn’t see coming but once read you couldn’t unsee the clues?  How about the opposite – guessed the twist from the start? If you aspire to write great mysteries in your novels and avoid at all costs the obvious surprises, this episode could give you the tools to do just that.

I (host Rebecca Galardo) and Author/Teacher Holly Lisle discuss how to plan surprises and mysteries while leaving room for your muse to play.  Without over-planning, spontaneous twists that even shock you as the author can come into play!

Get the free worksheet here or on our download page at AIARWIP.com/downloads (no email requested, no obligation whatsoever).

Plotting Surprises and Mysteries Worksheets

What do you know that your reader doesn’t?

At the start of the story, everything.

But surprises and mysteries are built from misdirection — from allowing (or helping) your reader to assume things that are not true, to jump to incorrect conclusions, to look at the wrong pieces of evidence or the wrong suspects first, and to otherwise gently help your reader to follow the wrong paths so that you can break out the right path at the right time, and delight your reader with your cool surprise.


Surprises and Mysteries: Holly’s Demo

This is a really ugly PDF of my worksheets, which I threw away before I could scan them. Fortunately, I sent pictures of them to Becky before the show so she could see how I’d done the sheets.

These are pretty readable grayscale of those photographs.


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Credits: Producer – Rebecca Galardo.  Sponsor – Holly’sWritingClasses.com.  Intro written by Holly Lisle and performed by Mark Hermann. Our podcast is 100% free and sponsored only by Holly’s Writing Classes.

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