Mysterious Stranger…Writing Prompt

The writing prompt for today will explore both FICTION and NON-FICTION. It’s fun to mix real life with fiction isn’t it? Sometimes I like to sit in Starbucks or the mall and watch people, I like to make up stories about them and what their lives are like. Try this the next time you’re out and about.

Everybody loves a mysterious strangers and there is inspiration everywhere! A cute barista, an old man complaining at the bank, the eccentric woman who sits on the park bench every Wednesday afternoon in her cat pajamas (if you see this woman it’s probably me) . Think of an interesting stranger you’ve seen around and develop a story.

Be sure to use dialogue,gestures, mannerisms and ways of speaking. Don’t spend much time on physical descriptions. Focus on showing the inner conflict of your muse through their actions and words. Have fun and as always, Happy Writing!

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Who is this person and what is their story?

Story Starters!..

Pick a line from below to start your short story. A lot of great ideas here!

He watched, helpless, as the door closed behind her…

He had kept their mother alive in their thoughts, too alive perhaps…

He had waited twenty years to return it…

Under normal circumstances he would speak his mind, but, not now, with a gun against his head…

He had enjoyed ten years of being totally irresponsible…

She had found something that would mean she’d never be poor again – but there was a catch…

Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees, while inside, the old woman’s fire was nearly out…

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Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees, while inside, the old woman’s fire was nearly out. 

 

The Recipe for a Great Mystery…

So, you’ve decided to write a mystery! That’s exciting! But how do you know what makes a great mystery if you’ve never written one? Sure, you’ve read a ton of mystery books over the years but do you know the ingredients to keep the reader flipping the pages? Here’s what you’ll need to keep your reader engaged:

  1. Puzzle-There’s usually a puzzle that needs solving and 9 times out of 10 it involves the death of someone. For example, “His body was cold and bloody; I looked around and wondered how he ended up in the alleyway.”
  2. Suspense-Will the mystery be solved and how will it be solved? For example, “We located the killer by dusting the body for prints.”
  3. Hero/Heroes-Who will solve the mystery? This one is pretty self explanatory…
  4. High stakes for the hero or victim-There must be a reason why the mystery needs to be solved, it has to involve a payoff for the hero or victim, what’s in it for them? For example, “The victim was selling drugs, he got in deep with the wrong people; turns out he started selling them because he was going to lose his house…”
  5. The Solution is revealed-Who did it and why? “Rocco Roselli put a bullet in the guy’s head to shut him up, the victim was shooting his mouth off about the shipping container full of cocaine he found and was gonna black mail the mafia.”
  6. Triumph of Good vs Evil- Mafia guy gets caught and is brought to justice by the hero/heroes.

So there you have it, the recipe for a successful mystery! Get cooking!

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Nothing beats a good WHODUNIT?