A Perfect Hero Can Be Boring.

So give your hero a flaw that could turn fatal. Superman or Batman? When given the choice, did you know Batman wins? Why? Because people relate to Batman, his negative emotions, his internal trauma, his drive to be good, and his sometimes vengeful sense of justice. Superman is just so … perfect. Not that I … Read more

Act 1: You Must Commit to the Crime!

Undertaking the Investigation: Commit to the investigation a component of an Act 1 beat that is just as it seems. Your sleuth—whether he’s a cigar-smoking lieutenant in the LAPD with a New York accent—MUST COMMIT to solving the crime because that’s his job. Or your sleuths—like a bunch of meddling kids in a flowered purple minivan … Read more

Add Killer Mistakes Your Readers Will Love

Howcatchems and Killer Mistakes In Demystifying the Beats, we broadly define two different “types” of mysteries: Whodunits and Howcatchems. The beats for the two types of mysteries stay the same. The Howcatchem is an inverted mystery. The reader/viewer know, usually from the beginning, who committed the crime, and the villain and sleuth play a cat … Read more

Wanna See What AMAZING Stuff You’re Missing? Here’s a Hint…

Just a peek at our Red Reines November Newsletter Posts Food Tasters and Murder This month is Thanksgiving in the US (Canada already had their feast-day a month ago). And in the spirit of well-attended banquets and murder mysteries, we’re talking food tasters. Anyone who’s seen Game of Thrones should be familiar with the concept … Read more

Do You Know In A Mystery, Act 2 = Fumbling?

Text about the beats in the How-to book Demystifying the Beats

Want to write a mystery? We have a KILLER Book we created just for you: Demystifying the Beats. The crime has been exposed, you’ve introduced your unique and mesmerizing sleuth, they’ve committed to solving the crime… And the investigation commences! You are now in Act 2 = Fumbling. But your sleuth is more reactive than … Read more

Is a Big Mistake a Fast Fail?

“Commissioner, I believe you’re making a mistake here, sir…” “Don’t be ridiculous. I saw it, I tell you… There were no other witnesses.” “Columbo” A Friend in Deed (TV Episode 1974) Demystifying the Beats: Fast Fail“A Friend Indeed” (1974), is one of my favorite Columbo episodes. And it makes a great illustration for one of … Read more

Better Whittle Suspects – A Friend Indeed

Demystifying the Beats: Whittle Suspects “But there’re a couple of things that don’t add up.” “Like what?” “Well, for one thing, the fingerprints.” “Come on, come on, Columbo. There were no fingerprints!” “That’s what I mean, sir.” “Columbo” A Friend in Deed (TV Episode 1974) “A Friend Indeed,” is one of my favorite Columbo episodes. … Read more