Five Tips for Writing a Mystery

5 tips for writing a mystery novel

Writing a mystery is very different from other kinds of fiction.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Since I was a kid I’ve been telling stories. Maybe that’s why I take it for granted sometimes. It feels very natural to step into a story and have a ‘feel’ for what needs to happen and when. I’ve spent years writing fantasy (with a bit of sci-fi on the side), so I guess starting this project had me underestimating just how different the genre of mystery was.

For a little context, after I announced last year that I would be self-publishing my first book in 2020, I began work on a near-future science fiction mystery novella that I still haven’t decided on a title for. Geek that I am, the science fiction part of it came rather naturally, but what I found to be a real challenge was the mystery.

I love a good mystery. It’s my favourite genre after fantasy and sci-fi, and I’ve been reading it since I was little. You would think that would make you well equipped to write it, but as it turns out, writing a good mystery is actually very difficult.

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My 2020 Bullet Journal Spreads

Even though I don’t keep the most traditional bullet journal, I do draw a lot of inspiration from the bujo community and I like to use spreads to track things and keep myself organized. There’s always a handful I like to include in my notebook, and since I recently moved into my new Moleskine, I had a chance to re-evaluate those bullet journal spreads and choose what I wanted to use going into 2020!

That being said, I’m always looking for new bullet journal ideas to add to my system, so I’m not starting the year with too many but I’ll certainly adapt and add to what I have as the year goes on.

I like to keep my bullet journal spreads simple and minimal. I love the beautiful, artsy bujos you see on Instagram, but I just don’t have the patience for that. And I tend to like a clean and uncluttered look. I’ve tried to do the fancy stuff, but I always go back to a more minimal bullet journal style. So that’s how I’ve set up my notebook for 2020. Check out my bullet journal setup below!

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Why Notebooks Make Great Gifts (& 52 Ways to Fill Them)

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission. If you’d like to learn more, you can read my affiliate disclosure.

It’s the holidays, and let’s be honest, sometimes brainstorming great gift ideas is hard. But there is one item that comes to mind every year, something I’ve received as a gift myself a few times. It’s super versatile and can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone.

And that item (if the title hasn’t already made it clear) is the notebook. That’s right. Those sheets of paper bound together that hold all your ideas and creative thoughts.

I recently finished my digital notebook experiment and it’s really reinvigorated my love for notebooks and stationery. I firmly believe that notebooks make a really versatile and reliable option for gifts. So I set out to brainstorm how many ways you could use them to prove that very idea.

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Digital Notebook Experiment: The Conclusion

We are finally at the end of my 8-week digital notebook experiment, and it has been eye-opening in so many ways.

I’ll keep my conclusions short: I won’t be using a digital notebook anytime soon.

Not that it was a terrible experience. If I’m honest, there were elements I enjoyed, and I learned a lot about how I like to take notes. I guess I just hoped I would find it more useful than I did. The convenience was there, but it came with its own assortment of drawbacks. Some of them were Android-related issues. Some were with the app. Some were with the hardware itself.

I haven’t written anything in the last two weeks because I didn’t want to deal with my digital notebook anymore, and not being able to use an actual notebook has been its own unique kind of torture. I’ve taken to vast quantities of post-its and index cards instead. Last week I ordered my new Moleskine, it finally arrived yesterday, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be back in a paper notebook. For now, paper is where it’s at.

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NaNoWriMo Tip: It's Not About Winning

It’s the final countdown. The end of the month is upon us, and unless you happen to be a couple thousand words away, this might be where your NaNo journey ends. It’s also the last Friday of the month, so it’s time for my final NaNoWriMo tip.

This ‘tip’ is really more of a nugget of advice, and a lot of it was pulled from a post on my old Tumblog, but it still holds true, and I think it bears repeating at the end of NaNoWriMo.

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