Mystery 1E

1E. Begin with a dramatic event. Some writers offer a prologue describing the execution of the crime in detail, as it occurs, possible from the point of view of the victim or perpetrator. The same information could also be revealed by a character through dialogue. Furnish sufficient details to allow the reader to experience the event as though he or she were actually there as witness. Another good opening is to place the sleuth in a dire situation and allow choice details of the crime to unfold in due course.

Structure fire and failure. The fire seems to have appeared at the buildings main panel. The panel itself was fine, but some people said they saw rats scurrying in and out of the area. Could it be that a rat had chewed through one to many wire covers? As the fire developed on the lower floor, it began to spread through the neighboring spaces then finally through chases and along the front facade. The flames were ghastly, climbing up the facade and taking hold at the windows on the stories above. By the time the fire department arrived, the fire had reached the fourth story. Although much of the building seemed to survive, the structure had failed in the corner bay and neighboring walls. Without the ability to resist shear, the corner failed, falling to the ground below and much of the remaining structure was compromised and diagonal cracking appeared and much of the building became unstable and some fell to the ground like the corner bay.

Entering emotional state of the point-of-view character
Character objective: What do they want?
Conflict: What impedes them from what they want?
Motive for antagonism: Some understanding of the other characters’ motivations
Character’s worldview: What belief system is he/she operating in?
Tactic: What actions the character takes in the scene to achieve their objective (remember, dialogue is action)
Turn: Does the character get what they want in the scene? What comes out of the conflict? What causes their emotions to change?
Objective achieved: Yes or no?
Exiting emotional state: If not the opposite of the entering emotional state, it must at least be different

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