Can You Write a Mystery?

My soon-to-be-released children’s book is called “Tails of Mystery.” It tells the stories of a dog and his friends solving mysteries around their neighborhood. It doesn’t have a cover yet, but here’s the dog – he’s called Fred.


Another soon-to-be-released volume will be the fourth edition of our local Writers’ Mill Journal. One of the headings for submissions is “It’s a mystery.”

Meanwhile, our next writing contest is titled  “A simply misunderstanding.”

So I wonder what great mysteries these misunderstandings might weave – which leads to this week’s writing game:

First, write the numbers 1 to 7 down the side of a sheet of paper:


  1. At number one, write down who is going to misunderstand something.
  2. At number five, write down the dire consequence of the misunderstanding.
  3. At number seven, write down the resolution – all is calm, mystery solved, misunderstanding corrected.
  4. Back to number three: What did your protagonist misunderstand? What incorrect conclusion did they draw?
  5. Number four: How did they act on that conclusion and how did it cause the dire consequences at number five.
  6. Number two: How did they come to hear/see/learn the thing they misunderstood?
  7. Number six: How did they come to realize they’d got things wrong, and how did they fix it to land us at number 7.


Weave what you’ve written back together to make a short mystery about a simple misunderstanding.


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