Help with writing a murder mystery

by Hannah
(New Zealand)

Hey guys,

At the moment I'm planning/drafting a young adult murder mystery novel. I have a few questions. Firstly,how many words should I aim for? Secondly, my mystery is set at a boarding school in 1930s Britain and my detective is a fifteen year old amateur sleuth. My problem is, I need to find a way for her to question the teachers without seeming suspicious. I was wondering if anyone here had any tips or ideas that I would find useful. Thanks :)


1. Average length for a novel is 80,000-90,000 words.

2. You have a challenge here, especially since in 1930 schools were more authoritarian, which might make it less likely that a teacher would open up to a student.

Your detective might need to use flattery or other tactics to win a teacher's confidence or get help from another student who has a close relationship with a teacher. It might help if the detective has another teacher as an ally who can help, or perhaps a non-teacher adult ally such as a pub owner with info. Perhaps a teacher has a son or daughter who can help? Perhaps a teacher is careless about leaving a letter or diary around. Other ways to get information might include: eavesdropping, blackmail, newspaper clippings, burglary, or being lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to see something happen.

Of course, your detective could just be clever about asking questions in a way that sounds innocent.

It's probably best to use a variety of methods for getting information rather than relying too much on any one tactic.

Best of luck,

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.