Excerpt from What We Seem.

Planning a murder is like planning a story.

That’s what I believe, anyway. Because in a story you really ought to have a good plot, or your readers will be onto you before you even get to your first red herring. They’ll have your ending figured out, and then the author is really proved to be a dunce. So murders, and novels, require careful planning.

You have to be a whiz with characters, too. Or, more properly, character. A good storyteller knows what makes a person tick; they think about all their habits, especially the ones the people themselves don’t know they have. The good writer has their tendencies layed out in their mind’s eyes. And they can predict them. That’s what makes such a good book; or, such a good murder.

But there’s something else, too. Something a little unpredictable. For a story to be good, you’ve got to give it the right dose of suspense. You must let the readers know certain clues- and you must set them on the right track. Adhere rigedly to the truth of your own tall tale; and, then, you must shock them with the twist. A good plot twist is a mystery you didn’t even know you were supposed to be solving.


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