Tuesday, January 18, 2011


One of the most difficult things for a thriller writer to do is to plan ahead to hide evidence in the early stages of the story development. Then, like leaving bread crumbs behind for the gumshoe to discover, you have to be careful where and how you spread them. I often find myself giving away the ending at the half way point in my novel. Then thirty thousand words later I realize what I have done and spend hours and days trying to back track re-hiding the clues. The investigation had been over and all the characters knew it, except for me. There are two main types of clues that trip me up. The first is the verbal clue where a sub or secondary character says something significant to the plot. The second is the placement of physical clues...and then forget where you put them, or that you even added them.
I tend to do a lot of sub plotting , braiding story lines through out the novel, and then bring it all together at the end. So far , I haven't left my private investigator scratching his head, wondering how he solved the mystery. Do others have this same problem with clues?


  1. Yes. I do have to pay a lot of attention to what I leave in the story.

    I'm busy with a four (or five) part series. Right now I'm busy with book one.

    There is a considerable amount of mystery going on, but a lot of it comes out two books from now. Still, I have to leave the clues in the first book.

    I have to be careful not to let it scream out at people. But at the same time, I don't want them to forget the clue...

    And like you said, I don't want to have accidentally solved the mystery.

    Tricky. Very tricky.


  2. Very well said, Mike. Leaving behind clues...just enough so that the reader might be aware on some level. It's not easy to do. i have the tendency to tell too much too soon.